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Undone || Malec

Chapter Text

"MADZIE LOOK OUT!" Rafael shouted as he let loose an arrow. It lodged right into a shax demon's abdomen just as the young warlock dodged the shot.

"Godammit, there's too many of them!" Madzie cursed, purple sparks building at her fingertips.

"We should call for backup!" Max exclaimed as he and Alexandra synchronised and split a shax demon in two. They defaulted back-to-back and acted as a barrier between the demons and their team mates.

"Where are those damn hellhounds?" Rafael gritted his teeth in frustration, taking out yet another demon with his bow. "Asmodeus is crafty, don't let your guard down!" He warned, aware of Madzie pulling out her pistols, the demonic carvings glowing purple in the process. She didn't usually have to use them but the hellhounds were made by one of the most powerful greater demons.

"Magnus warned us that Asmodeus was looking for a way to undo us, whatever the hell that means." Alexandra groaned, seraph blade plunging into a demons throat as it approached Max.

"We can't let them get away." Max urged, summoning his own magic to conserve strength.

"To do that we need to find them first." Alexandra grumbled in annoyance and pulled Max back to regroup with the other two.

"I'm calling backup." Rafael sighed and started writing a fire message to the others at the institute.

"LOOK!" Madzie exclaimed, purple fingers directing everyone's gaze. Amber eyes glared from the shadows. A low growl seized the air and the hair rose on everyone's skin. The small group of remaining shax demons were the least of their problems. Hounds with hair as dark as night emerged from behind a cluster of trees. Their movements jerked and jaws snapped, spittle flying through the bitter air. They were truly things of nightmares - the bright yet soulless eyes capturing the soul and forcing all your deepest fears. They rushed to the mind, disrupting the calm like a stone in water. Rafael was the first to shake off the gripping fear that bled into him.

"Focus! We've got the spell to defeat them, we can't let them roam New York." He commanded and the others snapped out of their trance. Immediately Alexandra and Max were back to battling the shax demons, determination flaring. Rafael and Madzie didn't take their eyes off the hell hounds, stances ready. "Cover us!" Rafael stood strong, seraph blades in hand as the creatures weaved through the gravestones.

To their surprise, the hellhounds' attention was diverted from the shadowhunters and warlock. Rafael immediately switched out for his bow, aiming at the two dogs as they bounded away. "Where the hell are they going?" Madzie exclaimed in alarm. Max and Alexandra slayed the last shax demons before joining their friends.

"We have to go after them!" Max exclaimed in worry, already taking off.

"Max!" Rafael barked in anger, chasing his younger brother, the other two hot on his tail. Max felt a shiver of revulsion as he approached the bony and boiled backs covered in smatterings of dark hair. They truly were the objects of nightmares. He slowed to a stop as a blinding light appeared. Squinting, Max could make out the light pulsing and twisting until a familiar swirl of gold was visible.

"They're making a portal!" Max exclaimed in alarm. Rafael stopped by his side, confusion seeping into his features as the gold mixed with a bright amber not typical in simple portals. As the hellhounds stalked towards the light Max's hands tightened around his blades. "We can't let them escape!" Once again Max reacted before thinking and sprinted after the dark figures towards the portal.

"MAX WAIT!" Rafael called again, the worry clear in the strain of his voice. Determined not to miss the chance to keep his family safe from Asmodeus, Max started chanting the spell as he ran. White and scarlet flames sparked at his finger tips before gliding up his blades and made the adamas glow fiercely. Deaf to his brother's protest, Max charged forward - weapons raised to strike. Just as he was about to cut down the beasts, they leapt through the portal to god-knows-where.

"NO!" Max exclaimed in anger and without considering the danger, he stormed through the portal after them.

"MAX!" Rafael screamed as the girls made similar sounds of distress. As they approached the portal spluttered and started to shrink. "I'm going after him!" Rafael stated, focused solely on his brother's safety.

"But-" Alexandra began but Rafael cut back in with one last order.

"Tell dad what happened, I'll bring that idiot back!" and without another word Rafael jumped through the shrinking portal.

~

Max had been through portals before - hell, he made portals of his own - but it had never felt like this. He couldn't focus, he felt like he was looking in 5 different directions yet couldn't comprehend why he was there. He didn't know why he couldn't remember why he was there and felt distress as his body felt like it was being pulled t every angle. Colours blurred and his head pulsed. He felt sick and just as it was easing up and he could finally focus, he was suddenly horizontal. Pain flared in his joints and in his face where it contacted the ground. With a groan, he slowly pried his face from the damp grass. He blinked deliriously and was finally beginning to recover before being winded by a weight on his back.

"FUCK!" A familiar voice exclaimed and Max could only groan in reply. He let his body relax into the ground, his strength felt unpredictable after the acid trip he'd just experienced. He was vaguely aware of rustling beside him before he was ripped from the floor and forced to look into hazel eyes. "You complete knob! Who goes through a portal unprepared?! You know better than all of us how dangerous that is!" The angry voice rattled inside his skull but it finally clicked into place what had happened as the words sunk in. He winced when he felt the bruising grip of his brother on his shoulders and groaned when Rafael shook him whilst cursing.

"OK OK I'M SORRY. STOP. STOP I'M GOING TO BE SICK!" Max cried and shoved his brother away. Rafael growled in annoyance before looking around, seraph blade at the ready. When Max's wits finally returned to him, he grabbed a hold of his own seraph blades that were no longer glowing. Remembering why he suffered the experience in the first place, Max jumped to his feet and joined his brother in a defensive stance. His eyes darted round the cemetery for any signs of dark fur and scorched skin.

"Where the hell did they go?" Max frowned, inching towards his brother.

"I'm not sure, I can't hear or see anything. The atmosphere isn't malicious anymore." Rafael assessed, only vaguely aware and happy that his brother was subtly seeking comfort from him by standing close. After a few minutes of checking the perimeter and ensuring they were safe, the brothers finally relaxed.

"I can't believe they escaped!" Max exclaimed angrily, kicking at a gravestone. Rafael huffed a breath of annoyance.

"You shouldn't have been so reckless!" He chastised. Max rolled his eyes, swinging round to look at his older brother with a sarcastic grace he no doubt got from his papa. Max opened his mouth to retaliate but Rafael's brows furrowed. "Where are the girls?"

Max glanced around, just as confused. "Did they leave?"

"Maybe we moved location." Rafael speculated but Max shook his head.

"No it's definitely the same cemetery." Max assured, recognising the small church and surrounding graves they'd fought in only moments ago.

"Are you sure? Something feels off ... different." Rafael hesitated and surveyed the area with more scrutiny. "Maybe time passed differently in there. That portal was unlike any I'd seen." Rafael reasoned.

"Yeah ... yeah that's plausible. Sometimes my timing can get a bit off when I portal to the institute." Max swallowed before turning to his brother. "Rafa, what should we do? We're all alone, the hounds are out there and the girls are missing!" he panicked a little, looking for guidance. His brother was a born leader - the lightwood blood running strong in his veins. He was more like their father out of the two of them. Max was certain his dad would hand the institute over to his older brother some day soon.

"Maxie calm down. We'll figure this out, we just need to regroup and figure out a strategy to stop those demons from hurting any one else." Rafael reassured and clasped a large hand on his brother's shoulder. He felt his protectiveness flare when he felt his brother shaking a little. Max realised this too and swallowed before taking a calming breath. He smiled at Rafael.

"So, what then?" Max coaxed, trying to divert back to the situation at hand.

"Let's head back to the institute. If we're right about the time being off then our backup may have already headed back. They will be worried, let's head back." Rafael decided.

"But the hounds-"

"Are long gone. We can track them at the institute." Rafael cut off his brother's protests and looked sincere. "Don't beat yourself up about not catching them. They're the most difficult thing we've faced yet." Rafael sighed when he saw his brother's face scrunch up with conflict. "Come on. The sooner we get back, the sooner we catch them." This seemed to appease Max as he perked up and nodded.

Both brothers hastily left the cemetery, cutting through the park. The night air nipped at every exposed piece of skin on their bodies and Max couldn't suppress a shiver. He felt brief annoyance at his big brother's ability to ignore the cold but it was fleeting in his grand scheme of problems. Something else started to settle over him the further they got. Max couldn't help but feel uncomfortable - finally understanding what his brother said when things felt different. He looked around at the familiar surroundings and couldn't help but host this flicker of homesickness. He swallowed at the discomfort and tried to ignore how daunting the feeling was.

They finally made it onto the street and came to a halt. A car leisurely drove past - no where pressing to be at that time of night. "It's definitely later. It wasn't this abandoned when we got here." Rafael confirmed, feeling uneasy from the quietness of the street. Max nodded even though his brother couldn't see him and followed as Rafael headed in the direction of the institute.

It didn't take long for the building's towers to come into sight. However the closer they got, the slower Rafael found himself walking. Max frowned in confusion when his brother stopped in his tracks. "What are you doing? let's go!" Max urged. Rafael frowned, looking hesitant.

"Something's not right." Rafael tried to reason.

"All the more reason to investigate." Max rolled his eyes in annoyance. Rafael glared.

"Doesn't it feel different to you?" He insisted. Fighting the urge to retaliate, Max took a moment to take in the surroundings. He breathed in and focused on letting his magic feel the area around him. When it reached the institute, he jerked his head up and frowned. "What is it?"

Max turned to his curious brother. "The institute's warding has changed. It's not as secure as I remember and it doesn't recognise my magic." Max explained in alarm. Rafael looked just as concerned but couldn't offer any explanation. "The hell is going on?!" Max demanded, his runed hand running through his dark blue hair.

"Hey, hey it's alright. We'll figure this out." Rafael soothed and tucked a finger under Max's chin. Max's seeking blue eyes met his brother's warm hazel ones. "I won't let anything happen to us. It might be a misunderstanding." Once again his brother's reason always managed to calm Max down. He couldn't help his anxiety - he'd been anxious since he was a kid, terrified of his father's abandoning him. It didn't bother him so much now that he knew he was adopted but it planted some irrational fears from a young age despite the loving environment he grew up in. He was so grateful his brother was patient enough to help him through it and remind him that he was loved.

"Okay." Rafael smiled before turning his focus back on the institute. It was just in time to see a figure storm out of the front. Rafael tugged Max behind him and retreated into the shadows. As the figure got closer the brother's held their breath as they recognised who it was.

"Oh thank god." Max smiled and moved forward. "PA-" Suddenly he was tugged back and a hand was thrown over his mouth. Max froze as his brother shushed him, eyes narrowed in on their father. Magnus' face held an expression of rage as he stormed out the gate and threw a portal into existence. Max struggled in his brother's hold, not seeing the problem, and only managed to get free when Magnus disappeared. "What the hell?!" Max seethed.

"Didn't he seem different?" Rafael tried to explain.

"He's our father!" Max exclaimed angrily.

Rafael looked annoyed. "I know but ... he looked ... different." he hesitated, trying to find the right word.

"Different how?" Max snapped.

"I don't know ... he looked almost ... young?" Rafael offered.

Max looked at his brother incredulously. "He doesn't age!" he scoffed.

"I know but he somehow looks younger than when we last saw him. Look ... I know it sounds weird but trust me on this. I don't think anyone we know here is quite the same. I just have a bad feeling and we can't go charging up to someone without being prepared. Maybe something's happened." Rafael stressed, his cautious hackles rising. He couldn't explain it.

Max, although pissed, knew his brother had a good sense of judgement. That was one of the good qualities he had as a leader. "Fine." he huffed. "Then what do you suppose we do? Just wait for something to happen?" He proposed harshly.

"No I still think we should go investigate but ... just with more caution. My gut is telling me to be prepared for whatever's waiting for us in there." Rafael reasoned. Max's breath hitched, feeling a small stab of fear. His brother seemed pretty adamant that they keep an open mind.

"O-okay. How do we approach?"

Rafael looked thoughtful. "Keep your weapons ready but don't draw them. If there's a peaceful scenario I'd rather take it." Max nodded in agreement and slid his seraph blades into the holsters but keeping his magic buzzing beneath his fingers. The brothers shared a look of understanding and trust before approaching the institute doors. Immediately Max could feel the wards resist them and alert whoever was inside. They waited patiently but prepared for what would greet them.

Finally the door swung open and the boy's simultaneously tensed and breathed in relief when a familiar face greeted them. However, it was short-lived once hearing the words that came next.

"Who are you? State your intent."

Chapter Text

Isabelle watched her brother jog away, a happy skip in his step. She smiled but it quickly fell when remembering why he was so happy. She couldn't help feel terrified at the prospect of her brother being harmed. She knew he was a Shadowhunter and had been through the same process but she couldn't help but resent their customs when her sweet little brother was being put in danger. She let out a distressed sigh but she couldn't dwell on it for long because the alarm went off. She pulled herself together and made her way through the ops centre.

"What's happening?" She demanded, joining the other Shadowhunters at the monitors.

"Unidentified beings outside. They're approaching the institute but the wards can't decipher them." The women explained, watching as two heat signatures grew on screen. Isabelle went into action immediately. She tapped her bracelet and the snake came to life, gliding into whip form. She grasped it securely before addressing her fellow nephilim.

"Get Alec and tell him what's happening, keep on high alert. Some of you, with me." She commanded and the other Shadowhunters acted on orders immediately. With her whip at the ready and backup secured, Isabelle strutted towards the entrance, grasping the handle and shoving it open.

Two figures stood before her. They were armed but didn't look to have harmful intent. Still she proceeded cautiously, whip hissing as she stepped closer. With a quick sweep she could see they were both Shadowhunters as the runes stood out boldly on their skin. The shorter one had unusually blue hair and bright cobalt eyes that were round with uncertainty. Although he was slim in frame, his toned Shadowhunter body displayed his competence as well as his trigger-happy fingers. The taller one had a sense of wisdom surrounding him and his confident stature. He was broader than the other and had unruly dark hair accompanied by a pair of bewitching hazel eyes that didn't waver. What struck Isabelle the most about the taller one is how much the boy reminded her of Alec.

Once assessing the levels of danger, she spoke up. "Who are you? State your intent." The two nephilim looked shocked for a moment - the older one recovering quickly and straightening. Isabelle noticed the same strategic turning in the boy's head that she saw in her brother's. The blue-haired boy frowned and opened his mouth to speak but the older one held his hand out to stop him.

"I'm Rafael, this is my brother Max. We are Shadowhunters from the LA institute. We're sorry to arrive unannounced but my brother and I were hoping you could provide shelter for us? We're on mission and it didn't exactly go to plan." he replied convincingly. Isabelle studied his expression and would have been convinced had it not been for the slight confusion behind the smaller one's eyes.

"You sure your stories match up? This institute is on high alert. If you are not being truthful we will have no problem removing you from the premises, especially if you are Valentine's men." Isabelle cautioned.

The smaller one paled. "Valentine?" he whispered shakily and Isabelle felt herself waver at the fear that reached the boy's eyes. He looked young - his name being Max jabbed at that terror she felt for her brother once again. Isabelle watched as the older put a comforting hand on the smaller's shoulder.

"I assure you we have no harmful intentions. Call the LA institute if you don't believe us. We need time to heal and regroup - we lost two others in our team and the downworld is at risk." Rafael insisted sincerely. Max looked to his brother, trying not to give away how confused he was and hoping he'd guide them through this.

Isabelle glanced back at the other shadowhunters ready to defend before biting her lip. She couldn't detect any malicious intent on either of them. If anything she felt a strange feeling in her gut - one that insisted she could trust them. "You can come inside but we will be contacting your institute. We must insist on the tight security as we had a recent threat of a mole. Be warned that if you so much as touch your blades you will be cut down in a moments notice." Isabelle replied coolly. Rafael's lips quirked and Max seemed to relax.

"Thank you for the hospitality." Rafael smiled and Isabelle couldn't help smile back at the sincere expression.

Isabelle turned to her backup. "Stand down, let these Shadowhunters inside." She ordered and heads bowed, letting Isabelle enter with Rafael and Max close behind. Max, finally managing to put on a brave face and hide his emotions, resisted the urge to flinch under the scrutiny of the nephilim in the room.

"Maxie." Rafael whispered lowly. Max's fingers twitched but he didn't turn to his brother. "Can you use your magic to intercept the call to the LA institute?" Rafael asked, clearly needing his brother's co-operation to make this work. Max's thoughts raced before he could remember that his magic was there to help. He swallowed and gave a quiet 'yes'. Max could use a little of his magic to influence the person on the line to believe their lie.

Max kept a sharp eye on the Shadowhunter that made the call, aware of Isabelle's gaze. Max felt the magic spark in his fingers and felt a little panicked that they might see it but Rafael covered him by slinging an arm round his brother, pressing his hip into his side and hiding his hand between them. Max let out a breath and focused on the shadowhunter, only putting a subtle influence on the other to hear what Max wanted him to hear. Max let his muscles relax when the phone was put back.

"Their story checks up." The Shadowhunter confirmed. Isabelle nodded with a smile and Rafael squeezed Max's shoulder in thanks before drawing away.

"What's going on here?" a voice bellowed. Max and Rafael tensed as they recognised the head of the institute make their way towards them.

"Fellow Shadowhunters. They were on mission from the LA institute when their group got disbanded. We checked and it was confirmed." Isabelle informed quickly. Alec narrowed his eyes at the two Shadowhunters not completely reassured.

"You're sure? Seems awfully sudden. Why didn't you're institute contact us?" Alec grilled.

"We didn't expect to need assistance. We've been tracking two high-level demons for weeks. We thought we were finally able to deal with the problem but our team got split up. We assume the others are either still tracking them or have went to regroup at the institute. They'll probably suggest handing over the mission to your institute as it's your covered area. I'd like to request whatever resources you're willing to give so we can end the threat as soon as possible." Rafael spoke, his authority coming off him in waves without effort.

Alec looked more convinced as the other appeared sincere and competent. His gut told him he could trust them for some unknown reason. There was something a little unsettling about the tall one, almost as if he was looking into a mirror, but he somehow didn't feel threatened. As he considered his options, Jace and Clary entered the ops centre.

"Alec!" Clary called, unaware of the negotiation. Rafael and Max were once again surprised to see a familiar face. Since the moment Rafael had seen Isabelle he knew what had happened. He wasn't one to miss a trick - he knew his father and aunt looked younger and that the atmosphere and time had changed - the clear explanation, although fantastical, was that they'd somehow travelled in time. He'd give himself time to ponder how it was possible later, but he still found himself observing their scenario in awe. Seeing his father so young made him feel both warm and cold. He felt proud about the similarities he saw in his father and himself but he could also tell that he'd been through a lot at this age. Rafael estimated he was in his early 20s judging by the appearance of his aunt Clary who didn't show up until Alec was 22. He was clearly head of the institute so they weren't too early on. He tried to push down how overwhelmed he felt. He needed to be composed for Max who had a harder time hiding his emotions - he could already see the shock and awe in his eyes as he saw the young and strong leader that was their father.

"We've recovered the mirror." Clary announced, holding out a circular device that fit snugly in her palm. Rafael's brow quirked as he narrowed down the timeline - the mirror was one of the three mortal instruments. He and Max were clearly now involved in the events of the mortal war. Rafael felt a spike of fear - not for himself but for his brother. He wasn't a child but he was still his younger brother and he didn't want him to be a part of the dark times told in their bedtime stories. Valentine and Jonathan were out there and would no doubt have an interest in them if they found out - of Max in particular considering his mix of demon and nephilim blood. Rafael would do anything to protect his family and would do everything in his power to soften the blow of the reality.

"I suggest a strong guard. Jonathan intercepted us and knows we now have the mirror." Jace detailed. Alec's lips twitched down.

"You saw what he looked like?" Alec prompted.

"His form was ... demonic. He could be glamoured as anyone." Clary filled in, a sadness behind her eyes. Rafael remembered his aunt retelling how she wished she could have found a way to save him but he was too far gone.

"Round up the elite guard." Alec ordered and Jace and Clary left to secure the mirror's safety. He turned his attention back to Rafael and Max. "As you can see we are on high alert. Protecting the mirror and finding Jonathan is our number one priority. We can't afford to give resources right now. I can offer you a bed for the night and assistance if it becomes available. You better tread carefully because our number one target could be glamoured as anyone - that includes you. Awfully convenient that you show up around the same time." Alec implied.

"I assure you it is a coincidence. I'd like to offer our services, we have a wide knowledge on greater demons - especially since we've been tracking them on this mission." Rafael replied.

"Greater demons in New York is a problem so as soon as it is available we'll provide aid. For now I want you close where I can keep an eye on you - I'm not going to just let you have free rein of the institute." Alec explained.

"That's reasonable and fair." Rafael agreed. Alec nodded and turned to Max. Max had been panicking on the inside for a while now. He never thought he'd see the young faces of his family outside of the photographs on his walls. He was a little shaken at the security of love and trust that had been taken away through unfamiliarity. He loved these people with all his heart and they didn't even know his name. Although he was a little excited once he came to terms that they'd travelled in time, he also knew that the only thing keeping him together at that moment was the security of his brother standing by his side and his warrior instincts kicking in. He didn't really trust himself to speak just yet so when the young version of his father turned his gaze on him he couldn't help but shrink a little under his scrutinising gaze.

"And you? You haven't spoken a word." He raised an eyebrow.

Max's mind raced to find a reasonable excuse. Luckily his Shadowhunter training kicked in and he replied instinctively, "Rafael is my leading officer on this mission, I feel no obligation to contribute unless he insists." Max explained and his widened a little as Alec's eyes narrowed a little. He realised how that may come across as disrespectful. "N-not that I'd ignore your direct orders s-sir. As head of the institute you'd also have authority. I just meant that i-it made more sense for my commanding officer to r-report to you." Max rambled. Rafael gave his arm a light squeeze in comfort.

Alec nodded, he looked settled. "Alright. I'll have someone arrange some sleeping arrangements. Once this situation is settled we can talk more about your mission." He offered and Rafael and Max bowed their heads in respect.

Isabelle sighed and spoke up, "I'm going to go check on Max." Max stiffened and Rafael's eyes widened. They'd heard about their uncle Maxwell - Max was named after him. He felt a slight ache in his chest at the knowledge they bared - he'd never met his uncle because he wasn't around. The brothers shared a look of understanding, hoping their family cherished the moments with their brother. Isabelle turned to them with a smile. "Our little brother - he's also called Max. Always getting into trouble." Isabelle clarified with a grin. Rafael smiled back, tinged only with a little sadness though he hid it well.

"Don't take too long, I'm calling everyone in so we can get this Jonathan situation sorted." Alec stated and Isabelle nodded, kissing her brother on the cheek before strutting away. Max couldn't help his smile at their fond interaction and the way his father always softened up a little around his sister. He was worried about their relationship when Alec decided to become immortal, however everyone was surprised to find Isabelle wanting to do the same. It definitely had something to do with the fact that she was in a relationship with an immortal vampire - their uncle Simon. Max couldn't help but think there was also the need for the Lightwood siblings to be together. He couldn't think of anything more heartbreaking than losing his family. He had a hard enough time coming to terms with eventually losing his aunt Clary and Uncle Jace. The thought of losing his brother however made it a little harder to breath. They'd had this conversation - and sometimes argument - plenty of times. Nothing was definite but Max was immortal and Rafael was not. They both understood Isabelle and Alec's need to stay together.

"Right, you two with me. You'll be on standby." Alec instructed and turned to leave. Max felt like his composure was breaking. Too much was happening too fast and he just needed a moment to goddamn breath. When he was sure no one was looking hard enough, he grabbed Rafael and whispered a spell. He watched as everyone and everything froze in place bar him and his brother.

"Maxie." Rafael started and Max whimpered. He was tugged into a tight hug and he had no qualms squeezing his brother back tight. He needed to ground himself in the only thing he was certain about. "Hey it's ok. This situation's a bit crazy but we'll pull through." his big brother soothed, stroking his messy blue strands.

"Th-this is fucking crazy." Max trembled.

"Hey don't worry, our family are good people. I can tell they trust us Maxie, you have nothing to worry about. Just keep up the charade for a little while. I think they'd appreciate our help." Rafael reassured. Max hugged his brother tighter, pushing down the urge to cry. He was known to be quite over-emotional but his parents never shamed him for it. Still, Max preferred not to let his worries show and rather let them out in the comfort of his room or in his family's embrace. He let out a shaky breath and pulled back slightly.

Rafael smiled fondly and wiped away the small tear that managed to escape. "You little idiot. Always rushing head first into trouble." He smirked. Max giggled and wiped his eyes.

"Thanks for being strong for both of us. How are you not freaking out?" Max asked with a sniff.

"Oh believe me, I am. But unlike you, I prefer to handle my emotions internally. I'm not saying it's great but it's easier. I'm ok with being everyone's rock." Rafael smiled softly.

"Dad's said you shouldn't bottle things up." Max's brow furrowed.

"Yeah well he's a hypocrite. I can just see the inner turmoil that grumpy soldier version of our father is hosting. Something's troubling him, he's got some serious worry lines." Rafael shook his head.

"You sound like papa." Max smirked and Rafael chuckled. Max breathed in, calming himself. "You'd tell me though ... if it got too much?" Max whispered.

"Of course Maxie. I trust you to look after me as well." Rafael confirmed and hugged his younger brother again. Max felt instantly a lot calmer and happier after their moment. "Alright, let's get back to reality. We've got a long night ahead." Rafael sighed, thumb tweaking the bow string still glamoured over his shoulder.

"That was the actual mortal mirror." Max's eyes went wide.

"Yes. I've estimated the timeline to be around the mortal war. We need to be wary of Jonathan and Valentine. They can't know about us, it's too dangerous. It's bad enough that Asmodeus managed to send hellhounds into the past to destroy our future." Rafael huffed in annoyance.

"So that's what he meant by wanting to 'undo' us." Max frowned.

"We should help with the Jonathan case as much as possible so we can sort out those hellhounds. I have a feeling they'll be targeting our family." Rafael suggested.

"But we can't give away too much. If they ask where we got our knowledge it'll be difficult to explain." Max grumbled.

Rafael considered it for a moment. "True, we'll try stick to knowledge that isn't too questionable. How's your magic doing Maxie?" He asked.

"It's alright. Took a hit during the fight and through the portal. I'm probably at 25% after that phone thing and this." Max admitted. "Not to mention it feels restless being away from my parabatai." Max squirmed as he finally realised the other discomfort he'd been feeling in his side since he'd stepped through the portal. "She's so far away." He sighed in concern.

"About 25 years away." Rafael confirmed. "Don't worry we'll get back. Try conserve as much of your magic as you can. We need you for the spell to stop those hounds. Afterwards, if we have to take time to recuperate and get back we can lay low." Rafael seemed to contemplate something before asking, "how's your memory magic?"

Max raised a brow. "It's pretty good. Papa and I have been making pretty big leaps in my lessons."

"Well it's always good to have a backup solution if our family end up finding out about us." Rafael explained. Max nodded in agreement. "Ok, now unfreeze us before you run out of magic." Rafael ordered and Max calmed his breathing before muttering the ending spell. The room came back to life and Rafael immediately made to follow Alec who was walking up the stairs to the meeting room. 

Chapter Text

"I hope Madzie's ok." Max sighed sadly.

"She's the strongest out of all of us. She'll be just fine." Rafael muttered as he and his brother hung nearby as Alec ordered a few of his fellow Shadowhunters about. He had called a meeting about Jonathan - they needed a way to track him and Valentine. The mortal instruments were being picked off and the situation was dire.

"I know but ..." Max sighed and stared off into the distance. Rafael rolled his eyes at the obvious dreamy expression in his brother's eyes.

"You know she's ten years older than you." Rafael smirked. Max scowled.

"Nine actually." Max huffed and crossed his arms sulkily.

"Still a pretty big gap." Rafael shrugged.

Max rolled his eyes. "We've had this conversation." Max sighed in exasperation. "Nine years is nothing in the long term, especially for warlocks." He reiterated his previous point in frustration. Rafael chuckled, he loved teasing his brother about his major crush on the warlock girl. Madzie was a force to be reckoned with and they had all grown up together. If anything she was almost Alec and Magnus' first child as they helped Catarina look after her. Rafael was born when Madzie was 6 and Max joined their family three years later at one years old. Even as a toddler, he'd been enraptured by the talented ten-year old witch. Rafael had nothing against the relationship. He was good friends with Madzie. In fact, if Rafael had wanted one and she was a Shadowhunter, he wouldn't have minded becoming her parabatai. He was happy being a solo warrior however and was happy his little brother could find his match in Alexandra Fairchild Lightwood Herondale. Rafael always thought it was ridiculous how many titles she had. She always insisted on being called Alex - it was easier for everyone.

The brothers' attention was divided when their family re-grouped, Isabelle excluded. Just as they were about to start, her heels could be heard in the distance. She sighed as she joined everyone. "Sorry I'm late. I've been looking everywhere for Max, has anyone seen him?" She asked with slight desperation, hands on her hips. Max tensed beside Rafael, he felt sad when he remembered why he'd been named after his uncle. He only hoped he didn't have to witness his family's pain first-hand as even years later he can still see their heart-ache.

"Have you tried the armoury? He's probably sharpening his blades for his first assignment." Jace suggested. Isabelle sighed in annoyance.

"I've checked."

"We have more pressing matters." Alec intervened. Max winced a little, knowing his father must have regretted saying that for a long time. Rafael bumped his hip against Max's in acknowledgement of his thoughts. They both just had to stay level-headed. "Thanks to Dot's help, we now have the mortal mirror." Alec informed. Max felt a pang of sadness for the warlock he'd heard a bit about in his aunt's stories.

"And you have it at the institute, and it's well guarded I presume?" the blond Shadowhunter questioned. Max found his face familiar for some reason but couldn't put a name to it. He decided to just let it go - probably recognising him from some old institute photos or something.

"The elite guards are the only ones who know its location. It's safest that way." Alec explained.

Clary jumped in, "Jonathan went after Eliot and Dot to get the mirror. Now that he knows we have it, he's going to come back for it." She insisted.

"Agreed. Report back with any possible scenarios by which Jonathan and Valentine can attempt a breach." Alec dealt out - acting the leader he was born to be. Rafael felt a swell of pride and longing to be half the leader his father was when he was his age.

"Okay." Jace agreed and started to vacate with Clary and the blond Shadowhunter which Rafael deduced was head of security considering his involvement in the planning process. Rafael felt confused that he couldn't remember the man's name. The only head of security his father made worthy of mentioning was his friend Underhill.

As the others left, Rafael and Max hung back, turning away from Alec and Isabelle but listening out just in case. Max glanced over briefly and saw the slump in his father's shoulders as he leaned against the table. He could only wonder what made him so troubled. He turned away and shared a concerned look with his brother.

"Is everything okay?" He heard Isabelle ask tentatively. Alec didn't reply but the silence was answer enough. Max and Rafael tensed in preparation. "You told Magnus about the soul sword didn't you?" Isabelle continued with a sympathetic tone. The brothers tensed at the sound of their father's name. Rafael felt pieces click into place and remembered the fury on the young Magnus' face. He cringed - they really hadn't arrived at a good time for their parents' relationship. He shared a worried look with Max. "Wow." Isabelle replied to Alec's silence. "That bad."

~

Alec had left Max and Rafael under Isabelle's supervision temporarily. As a result she employed them to help her find her little brother. "Oh god I don't think I want to meet him." Max grimaced. "It's too sad." he whispered.

"I know but ... it could be nice. Although we know his fate it's good to remember him how he was and from what we've heard he was a happy if not mischievous child." Rafael suggested.

Max still looked uncomfortable. "Yeah but I was named after the guy, what if he somehow knows who I am? Kids are intuitive! What if he feels I'm taking his place?!" Max whisper-shouts.

"You're being ridiculous." Rafael rolls his eyes. "What do you remember about him around this age?" Rafael asked.

"There's quite a few stories about him. He's obviously around the institute at his time ..." Max trailed off, eyes flicking to the worried Isabelle who didn't even notice their hushed conversation. "Hey ... it's unlike him to just disappear from what I gathered and ... the appearance of the mortal mirror is about the time Jonathan shows up so ..." Max let the implication hang in the air.

Rafael felt his blood run cold. "Max is in danger or ... he's already been hurt." Rafael said in alarm. Max looked stricken, not ready to see the pain his family goes through as a result of these events.

"D-do you remember where he went? D-do you remember if Aunt Isabelle told us?" Max asked shakily, knowing they had to find their uncle fast or his injuries may cause an earlier death than they were expecting.

"Wasn't it Isabelle's room?" Rafael guessed. Max turned to Isabelle who had gotten her phone out - probably to call her brother.

"What if he's waiting for you?" Max blurted. Isabelle paused and her brows furrowed.

"What do you mean?"

"Well what if he's in the one place you don't expect to look? Like in your room, that might be a smart place to hide if you're a kid." Max tried to sound indifferent but Rafael could notice the slight hint of urgency in his tone.

"Maybe you're right." Isabelle sighed. She turned to the both of them with a tired smile, "sorry you have to see me be a worry guts overprotective big sister. He's just started his Shadowhunter training and I can't help but worry." She explained as they walked in the direction of her room.

"I know how you feel, I'm always looking out for my friends. Especially my troublesome brother." Rafael tried to lighten the mood, giving Max a pointed look.

"You have a brother?" Isabelle asked kindly.

"Yeah, actually Max is my brother - this Max." Rafael smirked, ruffling already messy blue hair.

Isabelle's eyes widened. "Oh, I wouldn't have guessed. You don't immediately strike me as relatives - and of course you addressed him as your group leader." Isabelle shrugged apologetically.

"Yeah ... I'm adopted. It can be a pain in the ass being under my brother's command but he's proved to be a good leader and I trust his judgement." Max smiled shyly, still overly aware of the situation involving the other little brother known as Max, but he couldn't just tell his aunt to shut up and take him to her room could he?

"You two are too sweet. You remind me of my siblings and I. Jace is also adopted and he sometimes complains about following Alec's orders but like you he and I both know that Alec's a natural when it comes to this stuff." Isabelle smiled fondly. The Lightwood-Bane brothers shared a smile.

"Ah here we are. I swear if he's not here I'm going to kick his ..." She trailed off as she spotted drops of scarlet on the floor. Max felt his stomach sink as his suspicions were confirmed. Max was injured - the uncle he never got to meet and Jonathan was in the institute. A prickle of fear ran down his spine and he gripped Rafael's arm tightly. The brothers watched helplessly as their aunt slowly opened her bedroom door and let out a gasp as she saw the small figure of her brother lying on the carpet.

"Max can you hear me? Max!" She cried. "SOMEONE GET A MEDIC!" She screamed and Max and Rafael ran to find help.

~

All Alec had to hear was 'Max was hurt' to fly into action. He sprinted towards the medical wing, the two LA recruits on his heels. He didn't care about the fact that they needed supervised - not when his brother was in trouble.

"What happened?!" he stressed when he entered the room and saw his little brother lying in the hospital bed.

"I don't know - I found him like this in my room." Izzy replied, fury coating each word. Max and Rafael hung back outside the door.

"Oh my god, Max." Clary breathed.

"We should send him to Idris. See what they can do." Alec suggested, looking more panicked than Rafael or Max had ever seen him. Max looked at his uncle properly - all bandaged up and felt tears reach his eyes. He didn't want to know that little boy this way.

"Hey, it's okay. We know he pulls through." Rafael whispered.

"Yeah ... this time." Max's voice wobbled. Rafael put a comforting arm round his own little brother. He wouldn't know what he'd do if his Max got hurt like his uncle did.

"The medics said that in his condition he won't be able to survive the transfer." Isabelle sounded almost broken and Max had to look away at the expression on his father's face. He really underestimated how dark the times actually were when his parents were younger. Seeing ti with his own mind only made him feel more sorrow for his family's losses and pride for their persistence.

The brothers cleared the way when their uncle Jace ran down the corridor with the blond Shadowhunter close behind. "Max!" Jace exclaimed. Max flinched at his name once again and wished he was anywhere else. "We, uh, checked the institute security camera footage ... whoever attacked him was somehow covering their tracks."

"Has he been able to talk?" The Sebastian asked.

"Not yet. He's unconscious." Izzy breathed.

"I don't understand. Who'd wanna hurt him?" Clary frowned in confusion.

"I don't know, but I'm gonna find out." Alec breathed angrily and turned towards the door. Jace went to calm him down.

"Hey hey, get Robert and Maryse here. The rest of us, we'll find out who did this." Jace reasoned. Not listening to the blond Shadowhunter, Max turned to Rafael.

"I can't be here." He whispered.

"Okay, we'll go to the ops centre and wait for questions. I doubt seeing our grandparents is a good idea. We've had more than enough to handle right now." Rafael agreed and led his brother away to let his family grieve. Max was shaking in his brother's grip.

"God that was actually him." Max breathed in shock as his brother sat him down at one of the monitors.

"Maxie." Rafael soothed. "It's okay. We know he'll be okay. Don't take on the guilt of how his life ends just because you share the same name. Yes, he's our family and yes it's tragic that we'll never really get to know him but take comfort in the fact that we know that this time we get to see him get through it and see our family happy once again." Max teared up again.

"You're right. I just felt so guilty watching him there when I know what happens." He admitted.

"It's out of our hands. There's nothing we could've done." Rafael smiles sadly. Whatever they were about to say next was put on hold when Jace and Clary walked towards them.

"What do you remember?!" Jace demanded, clearly shaken by the whole thing. Max flinched away so Rafael took the lead.

"We were searching for your brother with Isabelle. We suggested he may be hiding in her room and when we got there he was sprawled across the floor. I suggest you look there for clues." Rafael responded calmly.

Jace breathed in heavily, turning to go but cast a suspicious look back at them. "How'd you know to check there?" his voice was cold with implication. "I swear if you had anything to do with this-" Jace threatened and Clary held him back.

"We were with either your sister or Alec the whole time. If you don't believe me then ask. Although, I suspect you should put your attention towards finding the real culprit." Rafael couldn't help but be quite sharp in his response. His uncle was known to be hot headed but had never turned it on them before. Seeing Max's reaction made anger flare in his stomach and he was going to punch his uncle when they got back to their real time for being a dick.

"He's right Jace, let's go quick." Clary urged and Jace finally let it go, jogging off to Isabelle's room with Clary close-by.

"Suppose I can't blame him too much since he's just worried about his brother. I know what that's like." Rafael sighed and turned to comfort Max more. They sat in comfortable silence for a moment.

"We should probably try work out what's going to happen whilst we're still here so we don't run into any more unpleasant surprises." Max muttered bitterly. Rafael cringed.

"Yeah ... hate to break it to you but this isn't exactly a great time for our parents. Remember the whole thing with the soul sword they were talking about earlier? I think this about the time they go on that break." Rafael sighed and Max groaned.

"I really hope we can get back to our time soon so I can hug both dad and papa and tell them how much I love and appreciate them." he sighed. "I didn't realise just how complex their situation was until I'm living it."

"Yeah ... Jonathan is also undercover in the institute." Rafael glared at the floor. "I can't remember what his alias was, who do you think it is?"

"I've no idea, did it start with an 'S'?" Max scrunched his nose in concentration.

"Well we know he attempts to steal the mirror, those poor guards will be slaughtered." Rafael continued, stress making his brow furrow further.

"We could try stop him?" Max suggested.

"No." Rafael refused. "We can't mess with events no matter how unfair. It may change our future."

"Ugh, it's so hard to be a spectator." Max complained.

"We could probably help in little ways. We know he won't get away with the mirror and uncle Max ends up being okay."

"Yeah but dad and papa will be miserable." Max sighed sadly.

"It all works out. If anything, the biggest thing we need to worry about is keeping those demons away from this timeline. With Jonathan invading and the chaos that surrounds it, the institute will be vulnerable to attacks. I think we should stay here and monitor the perimeter. You just try to conserve your magic just in case we need that spell okay?" Rafael reassured.

"Sounds like a plan." Max agreed.

Chapter Text

Everyone regrouped in the ops centre and Rafael made sure to listen out for details on how the evening had progressed. "What did you find?" the head of security asked.

"The box my mum used to keep Jonathan's things in." Clary replied.

"It was right where Izzy found Max." Jace explained.

"I know Max had his eyes on it." Alec confirmed. "He was so determined to prove himself."

"It's possible he found a way to use the box to track Jonathan." Jace continued and Rafael tuned out for a bit, turning his gaze to his exhausted brother.

"You should sleep for a bit, conserve your energy." Rafael prompted. Max looked like he was about to protest but sighed, knowing he wouldn't be of any help if he couldn't perform the spell. Rafael spotted the Shadowhunter that arranged their sleeping arrangements earlier. "Hey man." Rafael smiled apologetically.

"My brother's exhausted from fighting a hoard of shax demons today. Do you mind if he sleeps for a bit? Is there somewhere he can rest?" Rafael asked as nicely as possible. The Shadowhunter appeared indifferent about it.

"Sure, the spare rooms are down that hall then up the stairs. He can go in the one at the end." The man informed and Rafael nodded before turning to Max.

"Did you hear that?"

Max rolled his eyes. "We both know where the spare rooms are." He scoffed. Rafael shrugged and helped his brother up. "I can make it there myself, don't worry." Max assured. "Just stay updated on what's happening." Rafael agreed reluctantly and waved his brother away. He tuned back into the conversation.

"-without it. Alec, he could still be in the building." Jace cautioned. So they knew Jonathan was amongst them.

"We have to confirm he's still inside."

"He saw what the real Jonathan looks like, he will be glamoured as one of our own." Jace concluded and Rafael internally commended them on figuring it out as he turned to watch the perimeter for any sign of hellhounds.

"Hiding in plain sight." Clary added uneasily.

Alec breathed in and looked like he was forming a plan. "Okay ... okay Sebastian I want you and any other personnel on-" Rafael blocked out the rest of his father's words and his blood ran cold. Sebastian. That was Jonathan's alias. Rafael fixed the blond Shadowhunter with a gaze full of contempt. That man had caused so much pain and heartache in his family. He wished he could just end him there and then. He clenched his hands to stay in his seat and not throttle the person who attacked his uncle.

"-If Jonathan's still in the building, he's not getting out alive!" Alec assured right to Jonathan's face and Rafael would have been pleased if he didn't know that the bastard would, indeed, get out alive. Rafael glared as the blond half-nephilim, half-demon marched off to perform whatever devious deed was next on his list. Rafael hated having to be rational, but he really couldn't do anything that interfered with their timeline too vastly.

Just then Alec rushed past and whipped his phone out, finger pressing urgently on call. He groaned in frustration when the person didn't pick up. "Magnus please ... I need your help. I know things are complicated right now but ... I just ... I need you ..." Alec sighed heavily and stopped the voicemail. Rafael felt his heart clench - he hated seeing his parents sad. Although they had the occasional argument, they were too in love to ever continue for too long. Hearing the sorrow in young Alec's voice only made Rafael more aware of how it didn't start out so easy.

"Fuck this." Alec snapped suddenly and his son watched as he stormed out the institute to personally get his lover to help. Rafael sighed and dreaded the destination of the evening.

~

Max could only manage a couple hours sleep, his mind was too restless despite his body's protests. After a while he couldn't handle being alone in this foreign room in this foreign time without the comfort of his brother. He went in search for Rafael, hoping he was still in the ops centre. However as he rounded one of the corridors he stopped in his tracks and backed up. He swallowed the lump in his throat when he spotted his papa addressing his father and family about his uncle.

"Max's only hope for recovery now lies with brother Enoch." Magnus explained regretfully. Alec looked disappointed by the news and went straight to denial.

"There's gotta be something! Anything-"

"Brother Enoch." Maryse Lightwood said sternly and Max flinched a little at the sight. This was the Maryse Lightwood still struggling with her prejudices. Although she had come to love Max, he knew he made her sad at the same time - he was nothing like her son. He loved his grandparents but there was only so far their tolerance could go.

As the silent brother went to help little Max Alec became desperate. "No!" He exclaimed.

"Alec! I know you're scared..." Max tuned out of the conversation, shutting his eyes tight. He hated seeing the ones he loved so miserable and there was nothing he could do about it. After a moment he cast one last glance round the corner and saw his papa holding his dad's hand as a comfort. Max, despite the sadness it spawned, couldn't help but smile at the fact that Magnus would always care for his dad and would comfort him when Max couldn't. He let out a breath and headed to find Rafael.

Luckily he was still by the monitors, looking frustrated at the results. Max smiled at the sense of familiarity and security that Rafael gave him despite the painful reality around them, his throbbing parabatai rune and the lack of his family and friends. "Hey." Max spoke softly and Rafael jerked to attention. He smiled at Max's ruffled blue hair but it dropped a little when he noticed something amongst the birds nest.

"Maxie." He said in a low voice. "One of your mark's is showing. Might want to strengthen your glamour." Rafael whispered. Max frowned and reached up to find one of his horns showing. He flushed and concentrated his magic once again. Generally he wasn't ashamed of being a warlock and it was a lot more accepted at the institute in his time but he knew the reaction would be less than great in their current situation.

Just then Rafael's attention snapped to one individual who started talking to Clary. His eyes narrowed and he turned to Max. "That's Jonathan." He hissed and Max's eyes went wide. It was the blond head of security. "His alias is Sebastian. You were right, it did start with an 'S'" Rafael sighed and watched curiously as they interacted.

"Clary's tricking him into holding electrum." Max mumbled.

"Shit's about to go down." Rafael grimaced. The next couple hours were a blur as the sun began to rise. Both Lightwood-Bane brothers witnessed the whole Jonathan attack failure then deflated when they saw their papa leaving the institute with tears in his eyes not long after.

"Dad's probably a mess." Max whispered.

"They both are." Rafael agreed. "I heard the other Shadowhunters talking and uncle Max is okay." Max felt relieved despite knowing the outcome.

"That's good." He smiled. "So, any progress on the demons?"

"No ... they didn't even attempt a breach. What's stalling them?" Rafael asked angrily. "Look we should get some rest. I'm sure that if they attack we'll know about it but I need my strength if we're going to be along for this confusing ride." Rafael admitted, feeling his eyes getting heavy. Max agreed and helped his brother towards the spare rooms.

"Rafael! Max!" They heard Isabelle call and turned to see her jog towards them in those ridiculously high heels. Rafael smiled tiredly in reply. "I just wanted to say thank you for helping me find my brother, I don't know what I'd have done if we didn't find him sooner. So thank you." She smiled, eyes a little red.

"We didn't really do anything but we're glad he's ok. I hope you're able to get some rest." Max smiled.

"Oh I wish ... Alec's called us into a meeting about what happened with Jonathan. Where are you boys headed?" She asked, changing the subject.

"We were hoping to get a few hours sleep because we need to get back to tracking those demons as soon as possible. We've contacted our team and they're staying at a friends. We'll regroup when we can." Max explained, feeling responsible to take on the charade for once. Rafael needed rest and shouldn't have to think so hard.

"Ok you boys get some rest, I'm sorry you came in the middle of it all. If I get a chance to spare I'll help you with your demon problem. If not I'll get Alec to assign a Shadowhunter to help you on the case in the institute." Isabelle smiled and patted Max on his arm. She felt strangely fond of the blue-haired boy. He reminded her a lot of her Max and her protective streak was still raw. She watched with a smile as the brothers helped each other to their room and hoped that once everything was over they'd have the chance to really talk. They seemed nice and there was something comforting about them that Isabelle found herself wanting to explore further. 

~

Rafael and Max had finally got the rest they needed and decided to spar. Like their father is provided much needed stress relief and their iratzes had already gotten rid of the previous day's kinks. They had a quarterstaff each and circled each other on the floor. Rafael watched his brother quickly assess the situation, looking for any directional decision's in the boy's eyes. He saw the decision made in hardened blue eyes and prepared as his muscles twitched and he struck fast and hard. Rune's already activated, Rafael dodged with ease and went to get his brother in the back as he flew fast. His reflexes were good though as he blocked the blow.

Max's arms strained a little as he pushed back against his brother's strength. Rafael was the strongest warrior in the institute, Alexandra coming in close second. Max wasn't sloppy by any means but he had to focus on the skill of physical battle as well as mental when his magic came into play. Despite the conflict, he managed to keep up and found his parabatai's skills comforting. He made a quick decision, ducking under his brother's staff and kicking him behind the knee.

Rafael's knee bent but he followed the motion, rolling forward and twisting so fast the he swiped his brother's feet out from under him. Max let out an 'oof!' as his back hit the ground. Rafael chuckled and stood, looming confidently over his brother. "Nice technique and reaction time but you let your guard down when you thought you'd gotten me. Don't stop there, keep attacking until you know I'm down for certain." Rafael instructed and held out a hand for his brother.

"Solid advice." A voice complimented from the side. The brothers jerked their heads to the training room entrance. Alec and Isabelle stood there, similar expressions and stances. Isabelle uncrossed her arms and grinned brightly at the boys as Alec gave a small impressed smile - only the lifting of the corner of his mouth really.

"Thank you, I train the others at the institute." Rafael smiled and made his way towards the head of the institute, Max following suite.

"Really? What family do you come from?" Alec asked curiously. Rafael froze for a second, brain running on fast forward as he struggled to grasp a lesser-known Shadowhunting family name.

"True...wright." Rafael blurted out. Max almost gave an exasperated sigh, he was pretty sure that was made up.

"I haven't heard of the Truewrights." Isabelle said thoughtfully.

"Our legacy isn't very vast and our name relatively new." Rafael tried to explain. Alec seemed to accept that as he looked ready to change the conversation. "Isabelle here said you helped out in the ops centre yesterday when things got crazy during lock-down." He started and Rafael gave a nod.

"He got the operating systems back up in record time once Sebas- I mean Jonathan disabled them. Thanks to that we were able to save and find some institute footage regarding the elite guards. The quick back up also alerted the other Shadowhunters earlier about the crisis." Isabelle explained with an impressed smirk. Rafael felt himself flush a little and just knew his brother was giving him a smug look.

"Impressive." Alec agreed.

"U-um, thank you sir." Rafael couldn't help but get flustered. It's not like he didn't compliments from the older version of his father, but he thought it particularly difficult to impress the young and stubborn version of Alec Lightwood-Bane. No doubt he had other pressing matters that may distract from small feats like helping out with the security system. Isabelle seemed insistent that he get recognition though. Both brothers could tell they'd gained her trust and she wanted to help them.

"How's your field-work?" Alec addressed the younger brother.

"Ready and awaiting orders sir." Max replied automatically, both brothers had gotten past the shock of their situation enough to function as usual. Max was a good warrior and completed orders with vigour. He didn't want to fall behind his brother. Alec looked pleased with the response and turned to Isabelle who Rafael noticed was wearing her gear.

"Then you can suit up and accompany my sister on mission. Rafael, I appear to be lacking a head of security. What would you say to a part time position? I assure you we'll help with your demon problem as soon as possible. We'll get some other Shadowhunters scouting for any unusual demon activity."

Max and Rafael's pulses sped up, both honoured. Rafael was acting-head back home and head of security was a position of honour and he felt overwhelmed that he displayed enough skill and competency to not only gain their trust so quickly but be offered a sought after position in a prestigious institute. "I'd be honoured s-sir." Rafael couldn't help stutter. Alec gave a nod.

"I trust my sister's judgement and you've both proven to not be involved in any of the chaos that ensued yesterday. We'd appreciate any assistance you can offer." Alec replied justly before turning to Rafael. "Shall we?" he pressed and Rafael stood to attention.

He turned to his brother. "Good luck Maxie." He gave a reassuring smile at his brother's anxious gaze. He knew Max didn't like being separated but being on mission would put him in his element - he should be alright.

"You too Rafa." Max turned his attention to Isabelle as Alec and Rafael left to sort out the business of the day.

"Well you're all warmed up, grab your blades and let's go." Isabelle grinned brightly and Max couldn't help but return her enthusiasm. He loved his aunt Izzy.

As Rafael and Alec walked to his office in comfortable silence, Alec felt the need to clarify something that's been bothering him. "Look." He started firmly as Rafael fell into step with him. "My head of security just turned out to be a psychopathic murderer in league with Valentine and I usually wouldn't be so ready to accept another outsider for the position. I didn't have a good gut feeling about Sebastian but he saved my sister's life so I ignored it. I have a good gut feeling about you so you better not betray this offer of trust do you hear me?" Alec warned.

Rafael could see the exhaustion and sadness in his father's eyes and he wished he could reach out to comfort him but knew that wasn't possible. All he could do right now is try and ease his mind about Rafael's loyalty. "Of course sir. I welcome punishment if I don't fit up to your standards."

Alec raised an eyebrow but kept quiet. Once they reached the office, they went straight to business. 

Chapter Text

"Clary, don't." Isabelle sighed as the four of them sped towards Sebastian's apartment. Max watched the interaction curiously.

"No, I knew there was something off about Sebastian- or Jonathan. I should never had second guessed myself." Clary stated in frustration.

"He would have found his way into our lives one way or another. The only thing that matters now is taking Jonathan and Valentine out." Jace spoke up beside Max. Max stayed quiet, he knew they wouldn't find Jonathan but still felt something was off as they approached the apartment building. With Isabelle taking the lead as leader of the mission, she sprinted up the stairs to the front door. Max watched, impressed, as his aunt kicked the door open with frustrated force, staff at the ready. Max, Clary and Jace provided backup, scoping the room for any threat.

"Jonathan!" Isabelle shouted in warning. They turned to see the slumped figure of Sebastian at the table, Max immediately felt his blood heat up as he noticed the demonic energy in the room. That was definitely not Jonathan.

"Turn around and face us." Jace commanded. Max's fingers tightened on his blade, watching the body's every movement. He could sense the demon lurking under the surface but knew he couldn't say anything without solid evidence. He swallowed his warnings, trusting that his family could handle the surprise.

"Where's Valentine?" Isabelle asked coldly. The blond shadowhunter didn't respond and Max watched the confusion on his aunt and uncle's face. Jace relaxed his stance whilst Clary's stiffened, clearly dealing with the uncertainty in different ways. Isabelle stepped closer, staff inching closer to the body and turning the chair to face them. Max's nose wrinkled in disgust at the blackened edges of the Shadowhunter's mouth and the dead expression on his face.

"What, did Valentine kill him?" Clary asked in disbelief, staring at the black veins in shock.

Isabelle sighed in disappointment. "He's been dead for days."

"Tortured first." Max felt a shiver go down his spine at Jace's words. His family really had gone through some dark times. "This was the real Sebastian Verlac." Jace explained and went to close the Shadowhunter's eyes out of respect. Clary looked stricken and Max stood aimlessly, wishing to give comfort but not able to. "Ave atque vale." Jace recited.

"Hail and farewell." Max, Clary and Isabelle chimed in to give the Shadowhunter a respectful passing. However this seemed to trigger the demon as Max noticed the body start to twitch and shake.

"Jace!" Clary warned as Sebastian's eyes flew open and he shrieked. Jace immediately went into action, swinging his seraph blade. The demon moved quickly though and clung to the ceiling.

"It's a possessing demon." Jace supplied and Clary grit her teeth.

"The same kind that murdered my mum." Max felt anger for his family and threw a seraph dagger that lodged into the demon's throat. It screamed and slid down the wall.

"Then we know how to kill it." Isabelle concluded harshly and used her whip to drag the demon close enough for Jace to finish it off with his seraph blade. The demon burned through the angelic properties and evaporated into a black and amber cloud. "We'll make them pay for what they did to you." Isabelle promised Sebastian.

"We're going to make them pay for everything." Clary corrected with conviction. Max hated seeing his regularly-smiling aunt have such a vicious expression. He hoped they'd resolve things soon so they could start to heal.

"Nice response time." Jace praised the youngest Shadowhunter. Max smiled weakly and felt guilty considering he could have responded sooner.

"Let's report back to Alec and start tracking Jonathan and Valentine." Isabelle sighed.

~

"Have you notified the Verlac family yet?" Rafael heard Imogen Herondale's strict response to the news. He was surprised that they'd let him in on the conversation. Max was filling out their mission report so they could discuss the matter at hand.

"Penhallow's daughter, Aline, delivered the message in person, Madame Inquisitor." Alec explained.

"Defiling the body of a fallen soldier and turning it into a booby trap is sadly part of the course for Valentine isn't it?" Imogen replied bitterly.

"The possessing Demon wouldn't have done this on its own. The trap could only have been set using the mortal cup to command it." Alec deducted and Rafael felt anger and anxiety flare in his stomach - he and his brother really had dropped slap bang into the middle of the mortal war. Just hearing the mortal instruments' names made a shiver go down his spine.

"So he had it all along."

"Our intel shows he is also in possession of the mortal sword." Alec added.

"Do you have any good news for me today, Mr Lightwood?" Imogen asked exasperatedly.

"Valentine and Jonathan believe that the New York institute is in possession of the mortal mirror. He won't leave the city without it." Alec reported.

"Thank the angel that at least he wasn't able to find that." Rafael detected the slightly sarcastic tone, but couldn't help agree with the woman. The situation was pretty dire.

"We were. Clary?" Alec prompted.

"My connection with the angel led us to it. It's in Idris. The mirror is Lake Lynn."

"That's the very same water that Raziel first rose from. Who else knows about this?" The inquisitor demanded. Alec's eyes flickered to Rafael but quickly looked back.

"Unfortunately the number of people we can trust is getting smaller by the day. We thought it best to tell you first." Jace explained, turning to look at Rafael with a slight glare. Clearly it was a warning and he didn't wish to share this information with him. Although Rafael couldn't necessarily blame him given the circumstances, he still contemplated how the loving uncle he knew could have been such an ass. Jace turned his attention back to the screen. "We'd like to officially request soldiers for the guard to be placed in the surrounding woods around the lake. It may be only a matter of time before Valentine realises he's been had."

"I'll speak to consul Malachi about deployment at once. Good hunting." Came the inquisitor's reply and Rafael grit his teeth at the traitor's name. He wished he could protest but knew he'd be put under suspicion with that kind of knowledge.

"So what do we do now?" Jace asked quietly, stalking away from the others and eyeing Rafael out the corner of his eye.

"There's only 9 million people in the metro area. How hard can it be to find two?" Clary's sarcasm was dripping from every word. Alec only rolled his eyes in response.

"The job is too big to go alone. We need to ask for help." Alec sighed.

"From who Alec?" Jace asked.

Alec stood, "from everyone." He said firmly. Jace nodded in understanding before glancing at Rafael once again.

"Are you sure he should have been in on the meeting?" He voiced and Rafael internally groaned. Young Jace was hard work.

"I give you my word I'll keep this confidential." Rafael replied calmly.

"Your word means nothing until you can live up to it." He snapped.

"Jace." Clary sighed.

"I trust him Jace." Alec explained and Rafael gave his father a grateful smile.

"On what grounds Alec? A gut feeling? What about Jonathan?" Jace stressed.

"Look." Rafael interrupted firmly. "Valentine attacked and tortured my family. My best friend is a downworlder and so are some of my family. My little brother is in the next room in the middle of this mess and I'm terrified for his safety. I will do everything in my power to help you take the bastard down. I will not let him harm anyone I love again." Rafael snapped with conviction. Jace and the others went quiet. Jace searched the others expression and let out a defeated sigh.

"You better be right. Just know that if something goes wrong, I'll be investigating you first." Jace warned. Rafael sighed but nodded anyway, glad that he was able to co-operate.

"You have downworlder's in your family?" Clary asked curiously. "You seem a lot more progressive that the majority of Shadowhunters I've met." She explained, ignoring the annoyed look on Jace's face.

"My aunt is dating a vampire and I grew up with a warlock. She's my best friend and I'd do anything to protect them. I'm not saying I don't have reservations as a warlock experimented on my brother before my parents adopted him. I don't let that overrule my general opinion on downworlders though." Rafael explained, getting as close to the truth as possible.

"Poor Max, is he ok?" Clary asked and both Lightwood brother's jerked when they heard the name - still not used to the similarities.

"He's good now, a little anxious here and there but a strong warrior." Rafael confirmed. Clary smiled kindly and Rafael was happy to see her usual self shine through.

"Right, well, I'm going to contact the downworld leaders." Alec stated and gestured for everyone to get ready. 

~

"How's the report going?" Rafael asked and sat beside his brother.

"Horribly. I hate this bit, why did I offer?" Max complained.

"Because you're a good person and they had important matters to attend to." Rafael smiled.

"What happened?" He asked curiously.

"If they ask, be adamant I didn't tell you because I'm trying to keep their trust. They've discovered the location of the mirror and are going to contact papa and the other downworld leaders." Rafael informed, making sure no one overheard them. Max nodded, remembering the story.

"Guess you'll finally meet who you're named after, huh?" Max smiled sadly and Rafael's eyes widened in realisation.

"Oh yeah, Raphael Santiago is still the Clan leader of New York." He mused.

"Good luck with that. I'm going to submit this report and get some more sleep, my magic still isn't back to full pow." Max sighed, thumb tracing the voyance rune on the back of his hand.

"You do that, I've got to stick by dad and give him updates. I'll see you later?" Rafael offered, guilty that they were being separated again. Max gave a small smile and a nod before walking away. Rafael's attention turned to Alec, Isabelle, Clary and Jace as they entered the ops centre. Rafael grabbed the tablet he'd been given and joined them.

"Ready?" He asked cautiously.

"As we'll ever be." Isabelle sighed, flipping her hair over her shoulder and taking the lead to the meeting room. As the five of them made their appearance, Rafael assessed the scene. His heart spiked when he saw his papa standing tall and defiant, looking flawless as per usual. He tore his gaze away and spotted Madzie's mentor, Lucien Greymark, leader of the New York pack on the right. In the middle, Rafael's eyes narrowed on the Seelie Queen, feeling resentment build. He'd met her in his own time and they hadn't seen eye to eye. She was selfish and cruel and reluctant to compromise. Finally his gaze shifted to the vampire in the room and studied the man who was also raised by his father. Raphael Santiago sat poised in his chair, skin pale and eyes sharp on the Shadowhunters that entered the room. Rafael could sense the potential authority in the man and felt a sadness for his future and the rocky relationship between him and his papa that follows.

"Where oh where is Simon?" The Queen asked with an innocent expression and Rafael cringed, remembering her obsession with his uncle.

"Your highness." Clary addressed, expression sour. "What an un-pleasant surprise." Rafael nearly snickered at Alec's exasperated expression.

"Oh now, I'm she didn't mean to-" He tried to amend but Jace jumped right in, ruining the chances of reparation.

"No offence Alec but I agree with Clary. Your majesty." Jace addressed and cross his arms with a sneer, "this another one of your little games?"

"The institute called an emergency meeting of the downworld council." The Queen replied and Clary frowned at her. "I speak on behalf of the downworld." Rafael immediately noticed his father's eyes flick to Magnus whose head was held high and defiant in his gaze.

"Magnus is this true?" Alec asked and Rafael felt his stomach sink at the tension between them. He hated how they were apart when they both so clearly loved the other. Magnus didn't reply and the Queen spoke for him.

"Henceforth when you need anything from the downworld, you shall address me Mr Lightwood. Such is the nature of our new agreement." She explained with a smug air. Rafael wanted to punch her teeth in. Sensing the hostility, the Queen's eyes flicked to him, eyebrow twitching. However her attention was divided when Alec addressed her once again.

"Your highness. Valentine believes the institute has the mortal mirror. He's not going to leave the city without it. I would like the downworld's help in locating him." Alec tried to settle diplomatically.

"In order to capture him so that he might escape once again." She shot back.

"In order to execute him, so that his threat may finally end." Alec replied just as confidently.

"Why should we believe you?"

Alec inhaled, "I understand why you might doubt my intentions." He looked pointedly at Magnus and Rafael tried to conceal the smile at his father's pettiness. "After what happened with the soul sword, and for that I am sorry. But I founded this council to make things more transparent between the downworld and the clave."

"And how has that been going?" The Seelie Queen asked with an un-impressed tone.

"It's been a bit of a working progress." Alec nearly snapped. Rafael again tried to conceal his smile at Magnus' expression, he was ridiculous. His parents could be so dramatic when they wanted to be.

The Queen let out a disappointed sigh and stood. "For far too long, the downworld has depended on the clave and your institute to protect us from men like Valentine. It's time we learnt our lesson and started fighting for ourselves." She said with finality.

"We can't do this alone. Valentine is a threat to all of us." Alec tried to reason and the other downworld leaders looked like they wanted to help him.

"The answer Shadowhunters, is no." The Seelie Queen said firmly. "Come along." She beckoned to Magnus and her knights, seeing no reason to waste her breath on them any longer. Rafael glared with the others as she started to leave and felt exasperated at his father's willingness to follow her. He could be gullible sometimes. Rafael stiffened as the Queen paused by his side, looking him up and down before casting a glance at Alec. "You're certainly a long way from home." She smirked and Rafael's teeth clenched.

"Indeed I am your majesty." Rafael replied smoothly. He knew the Seelies were talented with dimension magic, she could probably sense he was out of his time.

"You are certainly a curious being. Do come visit me before you ... find your way back." She winked and Rafael held back his shudder of revulsion. She continued on, his papa at her heels.

"Do you know her?" Isabelle asked curiously.

"Of her, she's not to be trusted." Rafael spat quietly, vaguely aware of her allies still sitting at the table. Rafael watched as Jace and Alec went to greet Luke before walking him out. Rafael hung back a little as Isabelle approached the vampire.

"Shouldn't you be waking up every vamp in the city to start hunting?" Isabelle asked with a little hostility.

"I texted Eloise to start spreading the word. We'll search every tunnel, sewer, dark corner that we can, till the sun sets." Isabelle nodded. "That's the best we can do. I'd be more than happy to join them, but Magnus was kinda my ride." Rafael nearly face-palmed at his father's ridiculousness. He was so caught up in his own problems and now he forgot to give his vampire friend who was like a son, a ride home. Despite the frustration, Rafael couldn't help the small smile that reached his lips due to the dramatics.

"Yeah, I was surprised he would leave you behind like that." Isabelle breathed with a little mirth.

"You and me both." Rafael retorted in his head.

"He's got bigger things on his mind right now. He's been through a lot lately. We all have." The vampire explained wisely and Rafael felt a surge of affection for the man's understanding. He clearly cared a lot about his stupid warlock father. He understood. There was a moment of tension between the two and Rafael remembered that Isabelle and Raphael had had a thing of sorts and tried not to feel uncomfortable about it. Besides the thought of Clary and Simon together was more disgusting.

"I'm truly sorry. For everything. Our worlds turning against each other, it's, it's not quite how I pictured how our paths would cross again." Raphael admitted. Rafael felt like he was invading on a private moment and took the opportunity to retreat. He'd seen enough to respect the man he was named after and would remember him fondly. He retreated to the ops centre to help his father re-think his strategy.

He saw Max shifting uncomfortably in the corner and decided to check up on him first. "What's wrong?" Max sighed.

"I still can't access my usual amount of magic. Going through the portal took a lot out of me and I need my full strength if those hounds show up." Max whispered. Rafael stopped to think for a moment, his brother was correct. Despite not wanting to put all his eggs in one basket, his brother's magic was the only hope at defeating them.

"The warlocks are gathering at papa's loft. If you glamour your runes and show your warlock features instead you may get away with it. I'm sure Magnus won't be unreasonable in giving you a rejuvenation elixir if you say you've been attacked by demons. Father would never exploit someone's weakness for gain." Rafael suggested.

"But how do I sneak out?" Max hissed.

"I'll cover for you." Rafael smiled and went to find Alec.

Chapter Text

Max approached the loft anxiously, he knew he'd have to transform before he reached the wards so went into the alley way beside the building and vanished his runes and released his horns. He sighed in relief as he felt his natural features come out. Putting up the glamour felt like there was always something itching in the back of his mind. Now the itch was mostly gone except for the fact he was no longer hiding his runes which were just as essential to who he was. With a sigh, Max made his way to Magnus' loft.

His front door had never been so daunting before. Magnus tended to see through Max easily, could he tell if he was lying if he didn't even know him? Summoning his courage he went to knock on the door, only for it to open by itself. "How long you gonna hang out here kid?" A familiar face teased. Max tried to hold back a smile as he saw his aunt Catarina - she was one of his favourite people to be around, not to mention Madzie's adopted mother.

"S-sorry." Max apologised and stumbled into the loft. It looked different to how it was back home which had more of a family touch and definitely more photographs. It still held an essence of his father's bachelor days despite being in a relationship with Alec for a while.

Max swallowed when he saw his father walk down the stairs from his roof. "And just who are you?" Magnus asked curiously, martini glass firm in hand. "I don't remember any new warlocks in New York." He raised an eyebrow.

"Keep it together." Max thought nervously. "I'm just passing through." He praised himself on not stuttering in his father's powerful presence.

Magnus hummed and finished the descent. Max tried not to roll his eyes at his father's dramatics, he thought he was so suave. "And what is it you need with the High Warlock of Brooklyn dear boy?"

"I-it's my magic." Max cursed internally as he tripped over his words, he hated lying to his parents and he got nervous unlike Rafael. "M-my brother and I were passing through and were ambushed by Valentine's men." Max found his voice going quieter. He saw Catarina and Magnus tense up at the sound of that name.

"Oh you poor boy." Magnus sighed and pulled Max into a one armed hug. Max's breath hitched and couldn't help but relax into the embrace - happy with how familiar it felt to be in his father's arms. He felt tears reach his eyes as he clung on tight. He wanted to go home and hug his papa like this.

"I-I need help. My m-magic isn't recovering the way it should be." Max croaked and reluctantly pulled away from Magnus. "I was hoping you had a rejuvenation elixir?" Max asked hopefully.

"Of course little blueberry, I'd be happy to help. I'm hosting a lot of warlocks right now, this could become a temporary safe space for and your brother." Magnus offered. Max felt his heart in his throat at the nickname he was so used to hearing at home. He couldn't help the rush of affection and warmth it made him feel. He sniffed and wiped the tears away, trying to compose himself.

"N-no it's ok. I need to get back to him and get home as soon as possible." Max denied and Magnus nodded in understanding. He still rested a hand on the boy's shoulder and couldn't help but feel a protective flare at seeing this little warlock cry. He had to be really young, Magnus was impressed he could handle his magic so well. He didn't want to let go, he wanted to comfort the boy until he stopped crying.

He cleared his throat, "Catarina, why don't you get the elixir. You still remember where I keep them right?" Magnus suggested.

"What do you take me for?" Catarina smirked and went to Magnus' apothecary. Magnus led Max over to his sofa.

"You're not hurt are you?" Magnus checked, tipping the boy's blue chin up to meet his eyes. Max sniffed and shook his head, avoiding eye contact. Magnus could see the sorrow in his eyes and his heart clenched at the sight. Magnus couldn't help feeling protective over the downworlders and warlocks - particularly young ones like Max as he couldn't have any children of his own. "Where's your brother?"

Max sighed, "He's waiting for me ... trying to figure out how we can get home." Again, he tried to stay close to the truth.

"And where is home?" Magnus smiled kindly.

Max tried to avoid a direct location. "Wherever my parents are, I miss them a lot." Magnus felt his heart melt - the boy was too precious. Catarina returned before he could question any further and handed the boy a green vile. He smiled sweetly and down it in one go, nose wrinkling at the taste. Magnus and Catarina chuckled as he stuck his tongue out.

"Feeling better?" Catarina asked and Max held his blue fingers out, letting white wisps of magic lick up his arms. He smiled in relief but it fell rather quickly. Magnus frowned, what could be troubling him now?

"I don't have anything to pay you with." He replied nervously, chewing on his lip. Magnus let out a relieved breath - this boy's well-being felt important to him for some reason.

"Don't you worry about it, just be safe ok?" Magnus asked, although found he didn't want the young warlock to leave. Max beamed up at him and before he knew it, he was being hugged again. Magnus automatically wrapped his arms and cradled him - he wanted to give this sweet little warlock the world, just who was he?

"Thank you." The boy whispered and Magnus grinned, feeling happy for the first time in a few days. He was a sucker for kids. Speaking of, Madzie came bounding into the room at that moment and the blue warlock pulled away, staring at her in surprise.

"Madzie this is ... um, what is your name?" Magnus asked, chastising himself for not asking sooner.

"M-max. I'm Max." He said, eyes wide as he looked down at the little witch.

"Well this is sweet little Madzie. An absolute angel, aren't you darling?" Magnus cooed. Madzie only stared at Max and stepped forward until she was in his face. Max didn't move a muscle - scarcely believing this was the fiery girl he'd come to know. She was so small and cute, a big contrast to how tall and beautiful she was in Max's time. Little Madzie reached out and gently gripped one of his horns.

"Max." She smiled before letting go and curling round Catarina's legs. Max smiled softly at the sweet innocent side of the girl he knew. One day she'd grow into the strong warlock he loved. Magnus felt like his insides had turned to mush at the cute scene that had played out. He wanted to scoop up both of them and hug them tight and out of harms way. Unfortunately Max got up from the couch and looked sheepish.

"I should get back." He admitted.

"You're sure you're ok? You don't need any help?" Magnus checked, he didn't know why he wanted to spend so much time around Max.

"I'm sure, thank you so much. I hope we'll meet again." Max smiled sweetly.

"As do I Maxwell." Magnus grinned and the boy wrinkled his nose at the full name.

"Max is fine." he chuckled and waved at Catarina and Madzie as he left, eyes softening on the young warlock. He hoped he could get back to his Madzie, Catarina and papa soon.

~

Rafael stood by as Luke warned Jace and Clary about the where-abouts of Valentine and Jonathan. "Yeah, blondie moves like a demon." Maia's voice said through the speaker.

"That's because he is one." Clary replied in frustration. The situation was taking it's toll on everyone. Rafael had been taking on some of the extra work to keep everyone's stress levels down - he knew what he was doing since he was acting head of the institute at home. He could work the institute like a well oiled machine if Alec needed to focus on solving their Jonathan problem. Jace brought up a map of the city, trying to pin possible hiding locations due to Luke's information.

"On the plus side he won't get very far." Maia added.

"Yeah, by order of the Queen. Warlocks have put up wards all around the city. No portals or travel in or out for anyone with nephilim blood. If a Shadowhunter enters that threshold they get vaporised." Clary shared a concerned look with Jace and Rafael. "So be careful. We'll continue hunting on our end." Luke informed and hung up. Jace turned to some nearby Shadowhunters.

"Hey spread the word, Shadowhunter movement into and out of the city stops immediately. No more Shadowhunters die today." He said with conviction. Rafael hoped Max was okay, he didn't want him stumbling through those wards.

"Hey!" Rafael turned to see Alec walking towards them, the stress clear on his features - this couldn't be good news. "Isabelle's on her way back with Rufus. Guess who just tried to portal to Idris." He stated in annoyance, voice raising, "Valentine must know that we don't have the mirror, and presumably where the real one is."

Jace sighed and went to comfort his parabatai, "Look, let's stay focused on what we can control, not what we can't. We will figure this out." He assured, putting a hand on Alec's shoulder who was breathing heavily.

"So we're stuck inside the citadel-" Alec ranted and Rafael tuned him out as he saw the expression on Clary's face as she stared blankly ahead. Feeling concerned, he put a hand on her shoulder.

"Clary? You alright?" He asked hesitantly. Jace and Alec turned to observe the problem. She snapped out of it at his touch, looking confused for a moment before clarity crossed her eyes.

"I might be able to speed things up ... but I'm gonna need Jace's help to do it." Rafael and Alec looked to Jace whose brows furrowed.

"Well we should try what we can. What is it?" Jace agreed.

"I think I just had a vision from the angel. Come on I'll tell you on the way." Clary urged and took off without looking back. Jace and Alec looked ready to protest but Jace just sighed and went after her. Alec stayed where he was, Rafael sticking close as he knew they'd be able to track Jonathan. Alec exhaled and rubbed his forehead in frustration.

"You doing ok?" Rafael couldn't help but ask. He was concerned about his father's well-being and wanted to do whatever he could to reduce the stress.

"I'm fine." Alec snapped and Rafael ducked his head, knowing not to pester any further when his father was in this mood. He busied himself with checking institute functionality on his tablet. A moment later he heard a sigh and risked glancing up. "Sorry it's just ... a lot's happened that needs resolved. Thank you for everything you've done in the last few days you've been a great help." He said sincerely and Rafael smiled lightly.

"Of course, I'm happy to help." Rafael assured. Alec couldn't help the corner of his mouth lifting up. He didn't know what it was about the boy, but he felt like he could trust him with his life. He felt completely comfortable around him and working with him was a dream - he was so efficient and could handle everything thrown at him with precise solutions. It's as if he'd been there for years, which of course was impossible. The only people whose presence provided him with comfort was his siblings and ... Magnus, but somehow he got the same calmness around Rafael.

"I'm sorry we couldn't help more with your demon problem - that's the only reason you're here after all." Alec frowned.

"No worries, I've been tracking any unusual demon activity with Isabelle when we have a spare moment and they've been relatively quiet. No reason to panic just yet." Rafael reassured.

"You managed to find time to do that? What are you a machine?" Alec asked incredulously.

"I can handle things. I need to be able to if I ever want to take over as head of the institute one day." Rafael admitted, before wondering if he revealed too much. He couldn't go into detail about his life too much in case he had to repeat them and mixed his stories. Alec didn't look like he was going to pry though.

"Well ... I'd say you have all the makings of one." Alec offered and gently clapped Rafael's shoulder.

"Thank you, sir." Rafael nearly beamed. Alec waved him off.

"Please, call me Alec." he smiled.

"I'd really rather not." Raphael thought. It was easier to address him as a senior officer than as a fellow Shadowhunter as Rafael already respected him and took orders from him all the time. However calling his dad by his first name made him uncomfortable. He was saved from replying when Isabelle approached, Max close behind.

"Hey boys, look who I found." Isabelle smiled as Max smiled shyly behind her. "Where've you been?" Alec asked, eyebrow raised.

"Sorry sir but I sent him on an errand. I thought there might be a lead on the hellhounds but he contacted me on his way back and told me it was a dead end." Rafael jumped in. He could see the relief in Max's eyes as his brother covered for him.

Alec nodded, "Alright but I'll need you both on standby, things are getting crazier by the hour." Alec warned.

"Did Rufus talk?" Rafael asked curiously.

"Easily, he confirmed that Valentine was trying to leave the city. He couldn't tell us their location though." Isabelle sighed, annoyed they lost another lead.

"Great." Alec exhaled and pushed off the desk. Max made his way to Rafael as Alec filled Isabelle in on what she'd missed.

"You feeling better?" Rafael asked quietly. Max's smile widened.

"Yeah, papa was very understanding. Almost didn't want to leave." He joked.

"And leave all the hard work to me once again." Rafael shot back, earning a shove from his brother. Not long later, Jace and Clary returned looking a little flushed.

"I don't wanna know." Max thought in disgust.

"We know where Jonathan is - at the cemetery" Clary grinned. Alec let out a relieved breath as Rafael and Max shared a look.

"Alright gear up all of you, I'll arrange a portal." Alec ordered.

Chapter Text

Rafael brought up the rear as they arrived at the cemetery. It was no longer light and there was a bitter twinge in the air that made the hair on Max's neck stand on end. Something wasn't right.

"Why would they hide in a graveyard?" Clary wondered aloud.

"They probably raided an old weapons cache." Isabelle justified.

"Doesn't explain what happened to everybody else here." Jace added. The six of them scoped their surroundings for any clues.

"I don't think they left." Alec commented as he spotted a bloody tombstone. Rafael also spotted a bloody handkerchief nearby and stepped closer to Max.

"Another demon trap." Isabelle suspected.

"Let's split up in teams of two." Alec instructed.

"I'll go with Alec"

"I'll go with Izzy"

Jace and Clary said at the same time. Alec and Isabelle looked confused as Max smirked at Rafael. "Something so happened." He muttered and Rafael shook his head with an amused smile.

"Okay." Alec frowned and turned to the others. "Rafael you go with the girls as backup, Max with us." Alec instructed and the boys nodded before both teams split up, surveying the perimeter as they approached. Izzy, Clary and Rafael went through the back whilst Jace, Alec and Max went round the front. As Alec and Jace went through the door Max stopped in his tracks at a familiar sound. He whipped round, blade ready as he scanned the area for the source. The growling got worse and the sudden surge of fear told him that he was right. The hellhounds were nearby.

"Max!" Alec hissed from the doorway.

"I'll cover you, there are demons lurking!" Max insisted, keeping his eyes trained on possible shadows moving through the gravestones. Alec found himself reluctant to leave the boy alone. He looked young and the dread of something happening to him under Alec's watch weighed heavily on his mind all of a sudden.

"Alec, we need to go quick." Jace urged and Alec paused before he gave a reluctant nod, casting one last glance at the blue-haired Shadowhunter. Max gave him a quick reassuring smile over the shoulder but it didn't ease the worry in Alec's chest.

Max flinched when he saw the familiar sight of amber eyes that tore at his soul. He gritted his teeth and held his defensive position. This was going to be a lot harder without back up, he wished he'd stuck with Rafael but that would have raised suspicion. Everything grew quiet for a moment and Max held his breath, hair raising in dread.

A large figure lunged out from behind two gravestones, jaws snapping. Max ducked out the way, turning to face the beast which snarled and swerved back on the Shadowhunter-warlock. It made another dash, movements quick, and clawed at Max's side, which he only just managed to deflect with the side of his blade. He kicked the creature in the side, sending it flying into the church wall. Before he could catch his breath, he heard the slightest of movement behind him and whipped round just in time to dodge the jaws of the second hound that came close to his neck. Max lunged forward, slicing a gash in the dog's side that coaxed it to hesitate long enough for Max to focus his attention on the other hound charging towards him. "Shit" Max yelled as it barrelled into him. He plunged his seraph blade in the dog's stomach and kicked its whimpering form off of him. He knew that wouldn't slow it down for long. He needed to use the spell.

The second hound came at him when he was still down, Max grabbed a dagger from his belt and jammed it into the dog's skull, hearing the skull crack under the pressure. The hound howled in pain but, still, it didn't go down. Reaching for a spare dagger as both demons started to recover, Max quickly started chanted the spell provoking white and scarlet flames to violently claim the adamas in his blades as he backed away from their preying forms. Finally one lunged at him once again, jaw prepared to clamp down on his arm but Max punched his dagger in its throat and kicked one of its front legs, breaking it, and sending the beast to the ground.

He didn't react fast enough to the second and it bit down hard into his shoulder. Max screamed but grabbed the creature's jaw. He took a breath and used as much strength as he could muster to ply the teeth from his flesh, successfully breaking the muzzle in the process. Without further hesitation Max whipped round, flames burning at the end of his sword and plunged it into the beast's centre. It let out a gut-wrenching scream and its body evaporated into amber and black sparking smoke. Adrenaline still pumping through him, Max turned to the other hound as its leg bone snapped back into place. The growling increased, black seeping from the corners of its mouth in rage.

However instead of attacking, the hound glanced at the pile of ash that was its double and decided to gather its strength for another attack. Max frowned as it retreated and he turned to the once-hellhound smattering the path. He caught sight of something glinting amongst the ashes. He reached out to grab a purple shard-like gem before stuffing it in his pocket. He could worry about it later, he needed to take the other hound down before it could gain its strength back. He hissed at the stinging in his shoulder but whispered a quick spell to seal the wound and sprinted in the direction he saw the hellhound retreat.

~

"Thank you for not asking any questions about Clary." Jace pointed out as he and Alec scoured one of the rooms.

"I figured you'd talk when you're ready." Alec replied, focus unwavering as they prepared for the attack.

"I knew there was a reason you were my parabatai." He replied with a hint of mirth. Both of them turned as they heard a grunt on the other side of the door. As they approached it got louder and suddenly forsaken burst through and snarled at them.

Quick to react, Jace threw an axe at the first one's head, taking it down immediately. This didn't deter the other possessed being as it pushed the other out the way and wretched in anger. It made a grab for Jace who kicked it into the wall, blade raised as it stumbled. It lunged once again and Jace sliced across its throat.

A new forsaken entered the fight as it came in from behind. Alec backed up and dodged its swipe, plunging his seraph blade right through its middle. Jace turned at the sound of wood breaking in time to see a forsaken grab Alec from behind.

"Alec!" Jace exclaimed, blade raised to strike.

"Jace!" Alec grunted as he was pulled back through the wall. Jace went to help but suddenly felt a pressure round his throat and was hauled backwards. He choked as a gruff voice taunted him, "Hello brother! Mind if I take you outside for a moment?" Jonathan snarled and Jace wheezed and grunted as he tried to escape the chains round his neck.

~

Rafael got his bow out, arrow at the ready as he covered their backs. He frowned at the blood stains on the walls as they proceeded further. "Wanna talk about whatever happened between you and Jace at the institute?" Isabelle asked, not breaking focus for a second.

"There's no point talking about any of that until we figure this out." Clary evaded and Rafael smirked to himself. His uncle and Auntie were rather dramatic themselves and, from what he's heard, were rubbish at communication at the start of their relationship.

"Stop!" Izzy warned as she noticed the figure at the altar.

"Is she hurt?" Clary questioned as she saw the old woman clasping rosary beads.

"No, she's forsaken." Isabelle stressed and got her weapon at the ready as the figure turned her attention on the three Shadowhunters. She let out a screech and lunged at them. Clary wasted no time, slicing the woman across the stomach and Isabelle sent her flying out the way with her staff. Many forsaken started filing into the room, spittle flying, vacant eyes wide and pale.

Rafael let off a succession of arrows, sometimes needing two to slow them down. Isabelle and Clary dodged and attacked those that got through his range of fire, slicing and stabbing until they stopped moving. Clary kicked two away from her and sliced the figure coming behind her. As she turned back she froze as the forsaken were inches from her face. However they never reached her as an arrow embedded through one's skull into the other, demonic energy spewing from their mouths due to the adamas. Clary let out a breath and thanked the new recruit for his bow-skills. Isabelle noticed as well as she chopped off a head, surprised at the level of skill that she only knew was possessed by her brother and few others. Rafael reminded her more of Alec as time went by and when she had a moment to think it through she'd try discover why.

Isabelle turned, pushing a forsaken behind her with her staff for Clary to take down and used the other end to plunge into his chest. She caught sight of Rafael fighting two forsaken on the steps, bow forgotten as he used duel seraph blades to take them out. Clary was slicing through a chest when Isabelle turned back to her. They took a moment to breath but both turned as three forsaken appeared at the altar and made their way towards them. Isabelle still heard Rafael struggling in the background and readied her staff to continue the fight. Clary following suite.

As the three forsaken approached in succession, they suddenly stopped in their tracks, an arrow lodged through the first forsaken head - the clear through the other two. As the dropped to the ground it revealed Alec lowering his bow and Isabelle once again pondered how the two Shadowhunters were so similar. She turned round just in time to see Rafael plunge both blades in a forsaken's centre and pull apart its torso.

Rafael let out a breath and watched as Alec approached them with a grim expression. "I think that's the last of them." He frowned and immediately went to wrap Isabelle in a hug who leaned into the embrace. Rafael smiled a little and remembered times after hard missions where his father had done the same to him and Max.

"Are you okay?" Isabelle breathed.

"I'm okay." Alec replied firmly, pulling her in tight.

"Where's Jace?" Clary frowned. Rafael looked around and realised Max was also no where in sight.

"Sebastian. We gotta find them." Alec urged but Clary and Rafael's head jerked as he saw shadows moving towards them.

"There's more." Rafael warned pushing down his worries for his brother and grabbing his bow, he let an arrow fly through a forsaken's throat.

"Izzy you go, we've got this. You've got the whip, the electrum, we know it can hurt him! Go!" Clary insisted and Isabelle retreated, letting Rafael step forward and take her place. He swapped his bow for his duel blades when Alec drew his own. Once the first arrow was released, Rafael and Clary rushed forward, slicing down any forsaken that got close enough. Alec was quickly and cleanly taking them out until no arrows remained. Rafael kicked a forsaken down and thrust his blades down. Once was sure the last one was dead he turned back to Alec.

"Where's Max?!" He demanded in fear.

Alec looked conflicted. "He didn't follow us in, he said there were demons outside and that he'd handle them. I doubt Jonathan wouldn't have found him if he was nearby though." He explained, feeling his stomach sink at the boy being in danger. He felt like he made the wrong decision when he saw the terror on Rafael's face.

"That idiot taking on more than he can handle." Rafael growled.

"Hey, come on. Our best bet on finding both Jace and Max is if we find Jonathan." Clary urged and both Lightwoods followed after the red head as she sprinted out the church.

~

They arrived just in time to see Jace stab Jonathan through the chest. Jonathan, although wounded, didn't stop and grabbed at Jace's throat. Jace's struggled and Rafael held his breath as he slammed down on Jonathan's arm, breaking free of his hold. He used Jonathan's stumbling to his advantage and his kicked him in the chest and off the bridge. Alec, Clary and Rafael slowed to a halt as Jonathan hit the water. Everyone breathed heavily and watched as the body drifted downriver.

"Hail and farewell." Isabelle said bitterly. Rafael turned away and frantically searched for another body.

"Where is he?" Rafael breathed before whipping round to the others. "Where's my brother?!" He exclaimed frantically. Alec walked over to Rafael and put a hand on his shoulder.

"It's ok we'll find him." He reassured.

"NO you don't- just ... please, I need to find Max." Rafael rambled, feeling fear grip him tight. If anything happened to his little brother under his care he'd never forgive himself.

"He's probably back in the cemetery." Clary suggested shakily. Rafael took off running once again, adrenaline and fear driving him onward despite the exhaustion making his bones ache.

"MAX!" Rafael shouted, throat sore from the urgency. He circled the church twice and scoured the gravestones. "MAX!" He was pleading now, begging for his brother to be okay. He felt his eyes sting with tears.

"RAFAEL!" He heard Isabelle call and he turned to see her waving him over. He rushed to her and froze when he saw Max's body slumped against a mound of dirt.

"Max, by the angel!" Rafael swore and dropped to his knees, abandoning his weapons in the process. There was blood all over his shoulder and black ooze on his clothes. His face was bruised and trousers ripped due to a tear in his leg.

"He's been bitten." Isabelle assessed his shoulder as Rafael gripped his brother's hand. Alec, Clary and Jace arrived, their breathing heavy with exertion.

"Oh no, Max." Clary breathed and Alec stiffened when he saw all the blood. He felt fear rise in him - if Max died it would be his fault for leaving him alone. That terror from earlier lodged itself in his throat. Rafael wiped his eyes to stop the blurring, he needed to check his brother was okay. He exhaled in relief when he saw Max's chest moving. He lightly patted his bruised cheek to wake him.

"Maxie, Maxie hey! Stay awake buddy you may have a concussion!" Rafael soothed, making his brother face him. Heavy blue eyes looked up and Rafael laughed in relief, hugging his brother close. "Oh thank the angel!" Rafael cried, stroking through blue strands. Alec felt all-consuming gratitude that the boy made it through and wondered why he cared so much about the brothers in so little time.

"Rafa." Max croaked and Rafael lay him down.

"He and Jace need medical attention." Isabelle warned, watching Jace put his weight on his parabatai and clutch his stomach.

"They were here. B-both of them." Max said weakly, ignoring Isabelle.

"You stupid idiot for facing them without me! You always need back up!" Rafael snapped but he wasn't really angry. Just scared. Clary created a fire message and sent it to the institute for assistance.

"One ... got away." Max breathed tiredly. "S-searched everywhere for the other b-but ... but it got ..." Max trailed off, feeling light-headed.

"I understand Maxie, let's just get you healed first." Rafael insisted and shakily drew an iratze to heal the leg wound. It wasn't long until the medical team found them.

Chapter Text

"I'm sorry, okay?" Max pleaded.

"I've told you so many times how reckless you are, do you have no self-preservation?" Rafael snapped.

"I just went into warrior mode, I didn't have time to think about the odds when they were right there! I knew I was the only one there who could defeat them, I did what I had to do okay?" Max replied angrily as they exited the infirmary. Rafael let out an angry breath and Max thought he was for sure going to punch him. However he was tugged into a tight hug instead. Max winced a little as his bite was still tender though it was healed.

"You're infuriating." Rafael sighed, a fondness creeping into his tone.

"Love you." Max mumbled, feeling grateful that his brother had got there in time to stop him bleeding out.

"I love you too Maxie." Rafael smiled and pulled away.

"I want to go home." Max sighed, the relief ebbing away. He'd been feeling homesick for a while now and although the idea of travelling in time was exciting, their circumstances were less than ideal.

"I know, me too." His brother agreed, their family would be worried sick about their absence. "How's your magic?" Rafael whispered, changing the subject.

"Half recovered. Should be back by the end of the day." Max reassured. Rafael nodded.

"Okay good. Let's go, Dad wants us in the ops centre." Rafael informed and fell into step with his brother, overly aware of Max's slight limp. They joined Clary, Jace, Isabelle and Alec as they were explaining the problems with tracking.

"... for some reason it didn't work." Clary finished.

"Magnus' wards are up. Valentine must still be in the city." Jace added and Max noticed the way Alec turned away from their papa's name.

"Thank the angel for Magnus and the warlocks." Isabelle sighed and Rafael noticed Alec's face darken further at Magnus' name. He knew instantly that Alec's reply was going to be snarky.

"He didn't raise the wards for us." He stated bitterly and Max closed his eyes, exasperating at his father's pettiness.

Isabelle rolled her eyes and continued on topic, "Teams are out doing block by block sweeps throughout the city. We'll find him." Isabelle assured. Everyone went quiet, Jace turning to Clary. Rafael and Max made their way to Alec and Isabelle.

"Hey, how are you doing?" Alec asked and greeted Max with a tired smile.

"All good, luckily the poison from the bite was extracted before it could do permanent damage." Max grimaced.

"I've never seen anything like it." Isabelle frowned.

"Hellhounds are rare and can only be summoned by a greater demon, namely a Prince of Hell." Rafael explained.

"Who could have sent them?" Isabelle asked, concern clear.

"We don't know yet, we just know that they were targeting Shadowhunters." Max lied. He and Rafael both knew Asmodeus had sent them but that would raise too many questions.

"One's still out there." Alec mused unhappily.

"Nice job on taking one down. How did you do it?" Isabelle praised and Max flushed.

"There's a vulnerable spot between the ribs." Rafael cut in. "It can still be banished to hell like every other demon but they're resilient."

"They can only be banished with adamas combined with the spell though." Max thought worriedly. He had to make sure Alec didn't assign the case to anyone else because they wouldn't be able to handle it.

The conversation was put on hold when the alarm went off, red flashing around them. "Aerial sensors." Alec said, moving to check the threat at the monitors.

"Is it Valentine?" Clary asked eagerly.

"No, could be some type of wrath demon." Isabelle theorised.

"Rafael you hold the fort. Max still needs to recover, so you three with me." Alec ordered and Jace, Isabelle and Clary followed without question. Rafael watched them go in concern.

"What's happening?" Max was confused. Rafael understood as he tried to piece together the timeline told through their parent's stories.

"Okay so Jonathan just died, what's the big thing that happens next?" Rafael pondered aloud.

"Valentine raises the angel." Max filled in.

"And Clary makes a wish to revive uncle Jace." Rafael continues.

"But what's happening right now?" Max wondered in annoyance as he watched the shape on the aerial sensors get close to the heart of the city.

"Jonathan opens a portal right before he dies, right? So he must have raised Lilith from Edom." Rafael muttered gravely.

"By the angel." Max's eyes fluttered shut in despair. "We shouldn't be here."

"I know." Rafael agreed. "Let's put all our focus on finding that hellhound so we can leave this time to play out." Rafael decided and Max liked the sound of that. He was sick of lying to the people he trusted the most. He just wanted to go back to the family who loved him. To Madzie and Alexandra. To his home.

~

"At least four demons are still unaccounted for. notify all available personnel." Alec ordered as they walked back to the institute. They needed a new strategy - the demons were multiplying and the Valentine's whereabouts were still unknown. Clary sighed as she got off the phone.

"What's wrong? Is everything okay?" Jace asked, seeing the anger that took over her face. Alec and Isabelle turned round, curious.

"It was Luke." She sighed. "Valentine's on his way to Idris."

"What?!"

"How?!"

"He made a deal with the Seelie Queen." She revealed bitterly. Jace let out an angry breath and tried to bury his rage. "Luke's warned all the other Downworld leaders."

"Damn Valentine." Jace said under his breath.

"If Valentine gets to that Lake-"

"He won't." Alec interrupted his sister. "Malachi's army is armed and waiting for him."

"We need to warn him. Who knows how many circle members will be there?" Clary urged.

Isabelle looked troubled as she shook her head. "If we lower the wards these demons can get out - spread beyond the city." She cautioned.

"Maybe we don't have to lower them. Maybe my portal rune can pierce the wards." Clary suggested and everyone thought it over.

Alec nodded before saying, "We can't all go. Demons need to be dealt with."

"Clary and I will go." Jace volunteered. "You two stay here, slay the beasts." The lightwood siblings nodded in agreement.

"Be careful." Alec warned.

"Likewise." Jace countered before turning back and pulling a face. "And when am I never not careful?" he asked rhetorically. Alec narrowed his eyes, letting it slide because of the tension the four were under. Once Clary's portal was drawn and she and Jace went through, Alec rolled his eyes.

"Such an ass." He muttered and caught Isabelle's smirk.

"Come on, let's head back quick. You left Rafael in charge and things are getting more urgent." Isabelle reasoned and the siblings took off towards the institute. After a minute or two, she spoke up again. "Why'd you appoint him?" She pondered aloud.

"Huh?" Alec called, not understanding the question.

"Rafael ... why'd you appoint him head of security after the whole thing with Jonathan? I mean ... you hardly know him and I know I said I trusted him and Max but I thought ... it would take more convincing." Isabelle prodded curiously.

Alec didn't say anything for a moment and pondered. He'd told Rafael he had a good gut feeling about him and he did - he just felt he could trust him, just like how he trusted Magnus after so little time. "He ..." Alec struggled to find the words as they neared the institute. "I could just sort of sense he was sincere. I had a good gut feeling and ... I feel like I can just trust him - both of them. When I saw Max injured last night I felt ... distraught. I knew I'd blame myself if something happened to the boy because I left him to fight those hellhounds by himself. I can't help feel ..." Alec made a face as the words left him.

Isabelle gave a soft smile. "I know what you mean big brother. I trust them too and ... I also feel protective of them." She admitted.

"We've only known them for a couple days." Alec frowned. He didn't know he could get attached to someone so quickly. He couldn't help but dread when they left and that thought boggled him, why did he care so much?

"I think it might be because Rafael reminds me so much of you. He holds himself the same way, same ability to command a situation, level headed and ..." Isabelle grinned and bumped her hip into Alec's. "...protective of his siblings." Alec smiled back and slowed to a stop outside the institute doors.

"We can ponder all of this another time. For now we've got demons to vanquish." Alec changed topic and slipped back into his professional coat, opening the door. Isabelle nodded, slipping through without a word.

The siblings walked in to find Rafael talking urgently to a small group of Shadowhunters, geared up for mission. "What's the latest?" Alec demanded. Rafael turned to him with a frustrated look.

"They're multiplying at a rapid pace. There aren't many teams left to send." Rafael sighed, rubbing his brow. Alec had a quick recognition of Isabelle's earlier words - he did have a lot of Alec's mannerisms. In fact he looked a lot like Alec, a major difference being the angelic power rune sticking out proudly on his neck instead of the deflect rune. He shook off the thoughts and tried to focus. Isabelle walked over to the monitors as her brother turned to the group of Shadowhunters to caution them on the demons. She bit her lips in worry as yet another red dot symbolising a wrath demon appeared on the map.

"Over 50 of them now with numbers increasing." Isabelle informed as she turned back to Rafael and Alec. Max had shown up as well and stood next to his brother with an equally anxious disposition.

"And they haven't attacked once. What are they doing?" Alec wondered in annoyance, their pattern was so unusual for demon activity and it wasn't helping their situation any better with valentine's threat getting higher by the minute.

"I don't know but demons don't usually come into our realm to sightsee. We need to find the rift where they're coming from and seal it." Isabelle concluded.

Alec's eyes closed in despair for a moment before admitting, "We'll need a warlock for that." Rafael and Max shared a glance - they definitely knew where this was going.

"Not just any warlock. The most powerful one in New York." Isabelle insisted.

Alec's gripped tightened and countered sharply, "Magnus has no interest in helping the Shadowhunters. He said so himself." Rafael noticed Max let out a distressed breath, he knew his brother hated it when their parents fought. His anxiety always acted up. Rafael put a comforting hand on his shoulder and squeezed. Max accepted the gesture with a small smile. Comforted that his brother wouldn't have a panic attack, Rafael set to work searching for the location of the rift.

"He still also thinks the Seelie Queen is on their side. He needs to know about the deal she made with Valentine." Isabelle pushed, staring her brother down.

"Well not from me." Alec replied bitterly. "He doesn't want anything to do with me." Max tried not to flinch at his tone.

"Don't make this personal Alec!" Isabelle's voice rose.

"I'm not." Alec snapped and Max rolled his eyes. Isabelle looked exasperated before composing herself and gathering her jacket.

"If you don't ask him, I will." She threatened and started strutting towards the door. The Lightwood-Bane brothers smirked at their auntie, proud of her mixed stubbornness and professionalism. Max turned to see the distress on his father's face the further she moved away.

"Izzy wait!" Alec called. She paused and Rafael held back a chuckle when they saw her poorly concealed smirk when she turned. Alec let out a sigh and nodded before turning to the brothers.

"Find the rift." He commanded in a soft voice before exiting the building. Isabelle smiled as she joined them.

"Remind me not to get on your bad side." Max quipped and Isabelle gave a wolfish grin as she helped Rafael with locating large quantities of demonic energy. 

Chapter Text

Alec sighed as he made his way up the stairs, heart lodged in his throat. He simultaneously dreaded and longed to see Magnus again. He was still hurting from their last interaction. He could hardly believe how cold Magnus could come across. Alec hated that Magnus was on the other side of a war. He hated how the man he loved couldn't look him in the eye. He felt so much for the other man and just the few days apart had been torture - as if he'd never feel happiness again. It eased up when distracted by his friends and the mission but the ache was constantly there. Magnus made him feel whole and he was kicking himself at the fact that it was all his fault - he had kept the truth from Magnus. He deserved to know - they all deserved to know.

His thoughts were interrupted when he got a text with a confirmation of the rift's location. He felt relieved that his sister and Rafael managed to find it so quickly. He felt his stomach sink as he neared the front door. He also felt a small flutter in his heart - he missed him so much. He loved him. He just wanted to see him.

Alec shook off those thoughts. He knew he wouldn't be greeted warmly so he rid himself of expression and stood firmly as he raised his arm and knocked on the door. Despite trying to remain calm, Alec's heart raced as he heard the footsteps approaching much sooner than he was prepared for and his arm was still raised when the door swung open. Alec tensed as Magnus' gaze slid over him. He looked left then right before humming and going to close the door.

Alec felt the frustration rise at the man's childish actions and held out a hand to stop it slamming in his face. "Magnus." Alec warned.

Magnus took in an angry breath, still not meeting his eye. "What do you want Shadowhunter? Is it about the demons?" Alec tried not to flinch at the disdain that coated his kind's name. Magnus wasn't usually one to discriminate due to race but Alec could see his hatred of the Shadowhunters now directed at him and it hurt a lot more than he liked to admit. He hated that he'd put this barrier between them. He wanted to be someone Magnus could love and trust. Alec tried not to think about it as he replied.

He let out an annoyed sigh, "There's something you need to know, about the queen."

"Well if you've come to tell me that she made a deal with Valentine, I already know." Magnus stated and went to close the door once again. Alec felt the anger rise once again as he stopped the door from closing.

"Wait." Alec urged. Magnus gave him an impatient glare and Alec tried not to rise to it. He also felt a pang of sorrow - he never wanted Magnus to look at him like he was a burden. He tried to push down the emotions which were making it hard to breath. "Izzy has located the rift that the demons are coming from." He explained as calmly as he could muster.

"Oh, and you want me to seal it. What a surprise." Magnus expressed sarcastically. Alec looked down and gave a small defeated sigh before turning his gaze to Magnus.

"We need a warlock to seal one this severe."

"Duh." Magnus drawled whilst rolling his eyes.

The frustration flared again, "Demons don't discriminate between downworlder, Shadowhunter or mundane. They kill them all." Alec urged, trying to make Magnus see reason through their petty feud. Magnus' eyes narrowed but he could see Magnus beginning to think rationally.

"I'll seal the rift." He finally relented. "But not because of you or the Shadowhunters, because it'll save lives." He clarified and Alec tried not to feel the sting of those words. Alec lifted his chin defiantly and Magnus turned away, shutting the door in his face. Alec couldn't help but roll his eyes.

~

Rafael was studying the data of the Edomi demon when he heard Isabelle. "I just spoke with Imogen. Despite her request there have been no troupe movements in and out of Alicante since." Rafael and Max turned to see Isabelle and their parents making their way towards them. "When she went to Malachi to see what the hold up was she was told he left suddenly." Isabelle informed and Rafael frowned at the disconcerting news. He was pretty sure he remembered their uncle Jace telling them Malachi was a traitor.

"So she believes Consul Malachi is actually a spy for Valentine." Magnus voiced, looking very concerned. Max shied away behind his brother a little, hoping the warlock wouldn't recognise him.

Isabelle sighed, "There is no other explanation." She agreed.

"Jace and Clary are at Lake Lynn with Valentine, who knows how many circle members and no military support." Alec shared a worried glance with his sister.

"We need to go help them." Isabelle stated.

Alec looked conflicted. "We can't leave when the city is under assault." he refuted, leaning against the table. Rafael didn't know what to do. He wanted to intervene so badly and volunteer to help Jace and Clary but knew he had to leave things alone. He knew Max felt the same dread he did when he thought about what leaving his aunt and uncle alone would do.

"We shouldn't be here." Rafael thought angrily. He didn't want him and Max having to restrain themselves from keeping their loved ones from harm. However if they did intervene there'd be a chance that he and Max may never exist and he was too protective of his brother to let that happen. Therefore, he remained silent.

Isabelle turned her worried glance onto Magnus, he was their best shot at getting the job done quickly. Magnus immediately went into professional mode. "What have you got?" He asked, stepping closer. Max and Rafael stood on the opposite side of the desk as Isabelle brought up the data.

"We've identified the demons as a rare sub-species of Edomi." She explained.

"Edomi." Magnus repeated with disdain.

"Familiar with them?"

"They're from Edom. Tenacious little devils." Magnus confirmed with an odd look at the screen.

"So we've noticed." Isabelle muttered.

"And remarkably intelligent. Capable of creating carnage in, any number of ways." Magnus said with gesturing hands. Max could see Alec trying to figure everything out.

"Yet they haven't attacked once. What are they waiting for?" Alec asked, seeking guidance from Magnus as he had the most sufficient knowledge.

"They work in hoards, perhaps they're increasing their numbers to reach a critical mass." The warlock suggested with a furrowed brow. Rafael could feel himself getting antsy - the Edomi were the least of their problems at that moment. He and max knew they weren't going to attack until later and Valentine needed to be a first priority. However without evidence, his insistence on joining the others would be dismissed.

"All the more reason to get this rift closed as soon as possible." Isabelle added. Rafael decided to step in. He brought up the map and zoomed in on the location of the rift.

"Their entry point appears to be here." Rafael gestured. "Near Croton Point." Max watched as Magnus took notice of them for the first time. His eyes narrowed at their unfamiliar presence. However his eyes lingered on Max as he tried to figure out where he might have seen him before. Max tried his hardest not to squirm under his gaze. Magnus' attention was diverted however when Alec directed a question at him.

"How long will this take? Jace and Clary are alone in enemy territory." Alec urged.

"Not long." Magnus answered and started to leave.

Isabelle turned to Alec "We need to move." He nodded before glancing at the brothers.

"Max you come too. Rafael keep us posted." Alec ordered and Max swallowed before smiling reassuringly at the worried Rafael and leaving. Magnus summoned a portal and the four of them were greeted by the salty sea air.

"This is definitely the right place." Alec commented as he saw the large steaming hole in the sand. He paused and squinted when seeing a path of scarlet trailing towards it. "What is that?"

"Blood." Isabelle replied and shook her head. "Where did all the demons go?"

"I'm not sure. They just don't normally fly off into the sunset." Magnus quipped whilst studying the entrance. Max rolled his eyes at his father once again - always one to make a sarcastic comment. He got his seraph blade at the ready.

"Well let's not stick around until they make an appearance." Alec sniped. Max smirked as Magnus rolled his eyes and pushed Alec out the way to reach the other side.

"The amount of energy required to seal a rift from Edom is substantial. It's not just the flick of the wrist." Magnus explained and Max wished he could help his father close it. He knew he wasn't anywhere near as powerful as Magnus but he could help with the exhaustion. However using magic would blow his cover and Magnus would recognise him as the warlock from the other day. He felt guilty as he saw his father's troubled expression as he rubbed his hands together - preparing for the ritual.

"Are you gonna be okay?" Alec couldn't help but ask. Despite everything, Magnus' safety was essential to him. Magnus turned a condescending look on him and Max internally groaned at what was inevitable to follow.

"I'm the high warlock of Brooklyn." Magnus justified.

Max could practically see Alec thinking, "Sorry I asked." As he ducked his head. Magnus started to build his magic and cast it out across the entrance, arms swirling. Max watched in awe as he always did at his papa's magic - it was so beautiful and powerful. He was so distracted by the spirals of red that he didn't notice the approaching figure that Magnus did.

Max turned to see Alec and Isabelle frowning down into the hole when suddenly he was slammed back into the sand. "MAX!" Isabelle exclaimed as he let out a winded breath. His eyes widened when he saw the Edomi demon soaring above them and turning around. He saw Isabelle and Alec starting to move towards him but he shook his head.

"Go! I'm alright!" Max insisted.

"Cover me." Magnus said as he started the ritual once more. That seemed to convince them and they turned their attention to the demon that was getting away. Alec took off after it, Isabelle not far behind him. Max struggled to sit up and watched as the demon turned its attention to the two Shadowhunters. Alec fired an arrow which barely missed and suddenly the demon was diving towards the siblings. Having to retreat, Alec and Isabelle started running away. Max huffed in frustration and turned to Magnus who was very focused on closing the rift and whose attention couldn't be diverted.

He heard Alec calling Magnus' name but max knew he couldn't do anything. Instead, Max reached for his dagger, quickly enchanting the adamas to explode upon contact. Then, with all the strength and precision he could muster, he threw the knife at the gaining beast. It split into four smaller demons once hit. Max watched Alec immediately adapt and shoot an arrow, killing them as they approached. Isabelle got the last with her whip.

Alec turned just in time to see Magnus struggling to stand as he finished closing the rift. Immediately he was running to his side, panicking about his health. Max and Isabelle followed to make sure he was ok but Max hung back in case Magus recognised him - he was particularly wary after Isabelle had yelled his name earlier. He was hoping that he wouldn't connect the dots.

"Magnus!" Alec exclaimed, worry clear in his tone as he put a comforting hand on the warlock's back. "Magnus." Alec said again but softer, gently gripping his shoulder. Both of them panted from exertion and Magnus glanced up at his former lover and smiled slightly.

"You can't get rid of me that easily." He breathed and Max and Isabelle smiled at the comment whilst Alec let out a breath of relief. 

Chapter Text

"Any word from Jace and Clary?" Magnus asked, almost fully replenished. Max had been careful not to be alone with him in case of recognition. He had ducked his head when Isabelle had commended him on his aim.

"No. They should be arriving in Lake Lynn by now." Rafael informed, checking the sensors for further demon activity. He was frustrated that he hadn't had time to hunt down Asmodeus' hounds but knew he couldn't abandon the institute in a time of need - it would be his one day, and he was going to protect it. Magnus often found himself double-taking around the boy - he looked a lot like Alec. Almost everything he did reminded the warlock of his Shadowhunter - same posture, same unruly black hair, hazel eyes and general aura. Not to mention the smaller Shadowhunter that had accompanied them. There was something familiar about him but Magnus hadn't had time to think it through considering their dire situation. He decided to leave it for later.

"Strange. The aerial sensors show no demonic activity." Isabelle informed and Rafael frowned, nodding in agreement. He'd been searching since they got back but they seemed to have disappeared from their radar.

"There's nothing on the ground either." Alec added, looking troubled. "It's like the Edomi completely disappeared."

"Never heard of that. Once they pass through the rift, the demons are here to stay until they're properly banished." Magnus explained.

"Then where the hell are they?" Alec demanded in frustration. Magnus ducked his head, out of answers. Isabelle turned away, looking equally as annoyed as her brother. Max and Rafael could tell that they wanted to get to Jace and Clary. Rafael had this sinking feeling in his chest - it was going to happen soon. He turned to Max who didn't seem to have put it together yet. He was busy mulling over the Edomi's whereabouts, fingers dancing across the screen as he tried to make sense of it. Rafael turned to suggest they take a break when he heard Alec gasp. He turned to see their father hunching over.

Rafael felt his blood run cold as he saw the pain on their father's face. Magnus and Isabelle turned in alarm as Alec grunted in pain. Rafael turned to Max who had turned ashen - finally realising what was about to happen. "Alexander?" Magnus questioned in concern. "Are you okay?" Alec started gasping for air.

Alec scrambled for the hem of his shirt, pulling it up to reveal the glowing mark. "His parabatai rune." Isabelle said shakily. Magnus' eyes locked with her's and they shared in a moment of horror as Alec struggled.

"It's-" Alec got out and his eyes went wide. His thoughts spun with images of he and Jace, panic building in his soul. The pain was unbearable and he felt it reach his eyes as the dread of what was happening hit him full force. "Jace." He forced before crying out.

Tears started streaming down Max's face as his hand subconsciously traced his own parabatai rune which started to itch. He watched in horror at what would happen if he lost Alexandra. He whimpered as his father shouted and groaned in pain, desperate noises leaving him as he pleaded for it not to be true. Rafael couldn't let it go on and smothered his brother's face in his chest, trying to block the sounds getting to his ears. Even though he felt himself flinch with every sound Alec made, Rafael was determined to protect his brother from witnessing it.

Magnus panicked when Alec howled in pain, lunging forward as he fell onto the floor, curling in on himself. He felt tears sting his eyes at the Shadowhunter's suffering and found all he could do was helplessly hold him and wait for it to pass. Finally the groaning stopped and all that came out was sob-like gasps as Alec's eyes frantically searched the room. Isabelle looked distraught and on the verge of tears as she realised what had happened and all Magnus could do was watch in sorrow.

Rafael turned and watched as Alec lifted his shirt and the rune disappeared from his skin. He clenched his teeth and, squeezed his brother tighter. they shouldn't have had to witness that - all the pain and suffering their parents had been through should be in the past. No one should have to re-live them. Their parents were finally happy and now they had to witness this? Rafael wanted to shout at the world and tell it to fuck off. He wanted to storm to Edom and plunge his blade through Asmodeus' chest for putting the brothers through this pain. He hated seeing his father like this. He hated how it would haunt them.

"I ... I can't feel him." Alec's voice came out gruff as he fell back into Magnus. The look of disbelief on his face as he swallowed and gasped for breath, wounded them further. The shock remained when he uttered the words, "He's dead." Rafael watched as his father didn't move a muscle - just stared ahead, completely broken. He watched his auntie slump to the ground with a sob and his papa looked distraught in his inability to help.

Rafael turned to Max who was shaking. "Hey." He whispered. "Just keep it together, it's okay Maxie. This is all in the past, we can get through this. Father's in a lot of pain but we know it will all be okay." Rafael winced as his voice broke a little. Max's sad eyes trailed up to his brothers and his breath hitched when he saw Rafael fighting back tears. He'd been so strong for the both of them. It made something snap in his mind and he pushed down his anxiety. He couldn't keep depending on his brother.

"I know." He whispered back and gave a watery smile. The brothers hugged again as they tried to compose themselves for their family.

"Not long now, I promise." Rafael stated firmly. Once aunt Clary kills Valentine and the institute is no longer at risk, we'll leave. Just a little more." Rafael reassured. Max wiped his eyes and settled with a look of determination. Everything was going to be okay.

They turned as Alec shakily got to his feet. He struggled to compose himself, and Rafael wished that everyone who was staring would just turn away and give him the privacy his father needed. 

"Alec." Isabelle whispered, tears leaking from her eyes. She put a gentle hand on his shoulder. Alec's eyes screwed shut and Max could see the rage wanting to break free. However he held back and straightened up, fists shaking.

"We have to go to Lake Lynn. We're wasting time." He gritted out and Isabelle sighed sadly at the fact that her brother didn't have time to grieve. Everyone was silent as Alec's thoughts raced and he thought up a strategy. "ALRIGHT LISTEN UP!" He thundered, "My team and I are heading to Alicante to provide backup, this institute better be standing when I get back. ARE WE CLEAR?!" Alec demanded and every Shadowhunter nodded stiffly before scurrying away.

"Gear up." Alec croaked and Isabelle, Max and Rafael did as told, grabbing their respective weapons and joining Magnus who wordlessly summoned a portal.

~

"We're too late." Isabelle said in despair as the sky lit up with heavenly energy. Max and Rafael looked on in awe at the atmosphere created by the angel. Even though he knew the wish gets stopped, Rafael threw a worried glance at his brother who was half-downworlder. If Valentine succeeded, he'd lose his brother.

"He's raised the angel." Magnus voiced in horrified awe.

"Magnus, you need to get to safety." Alec warned, panic creeping into his tone. He couldn't lose Magnus too, he couldn't suffer through that loss as well. It'd break him.

Magnus disagreed, gaze not wavering from the lights in the sky. Rafael could see the hints of fear there and hoped he'd never have to see it again. "We need to find Jace and Clary." Magnus took the lead, running towards the lake, Alec close behind. He couldn't help the dread that filled him as he anticipated seeing Jace's dead body. He didn't know if he'd be able to breath if that happened. As they approached the clearing, he saw two figures huddled together and one sprawled to the side. His stomach dropped as he expected to see Jace's vacant expression staring back. However he was pleasantly surprised to find that it was Valentine's body.

He whipped round, hope soaring as the two figures pulled apart from each other's lips. "You're okay!" Alec breathed, relief filling him up as his parabatai turned to look at them.

"Actually they're more than okay." Isabelle breathed with mirth. Jace and Clary stumbled to their feet and Rafael and Max let out a breath. Everything was fine - nothing changed with them being there.

"Thank the angel." Max whispered. Rafael grinned and turned to look at Valentine's body, he stepped closer and checked his pulse to make sure, Max standing on the opposite side, peering down curiously at the mad man he'd heard so many stories about.

"Jace, I ..." They heard and turned to see their father's confused face. "I thought you were dead." He breathed, eyes round in disbelief. "Our rune, it disappeared." He frowned, hungry for an explanation.

"Look at it now." Jace urged and Alec frowned before looking down and lifting his shirt. Max managed to catch a glimpse of Alec's parabatai rune and let out his own breath of relief, fingers skimming his own rune on his hip.

"How?" Alec asked in confusion.

"I don't know." Jace lied and Max turned to Rafael with an annoyed expression but Rafael just grinned - that was a problem for another time. The others turned round and stared at Valentine's corpse.

"It's over." Alec stated, a deep exhaustion clear as day in his words as he turned back to Jace.

"Yeah." Jace agreed and quickly went to embrace his brother who welcomed him. They hugged tightly, Isabelle turning to Magnus and doing the same. Clary couldn't stop smiling though tears did continue to fall here and there. For a moment, everything seemed calm - happy even. Rafael stood up and away from Valentine's dead body and was about to go embrace his brother when suddenly all the hairs on the back of his neck went on end.

Max looked up and felt his blood go cold when a pair of amber eyes looked down on them from above. A growl erupted and the beast lunged. All Max could do was reach out and scream 'PAPA!' as the hellhound's teeth aimed for Magnus' throat. Suddenly, Magnus was shoved out the way and the beast barrelled into a different body. Max's heart stopped when he recognised Rafael's pained cry and the others' yells of panic.

It had all happened so fast. Alec had turned just in time to see a large demonic creature lunging down on Magnus and then Alec was cradling him as he was pushed into his arms. Hands tightening around his love, he looked up in horror as the dog pinned Rafael to the ground and bit into his side. The boy's screams were joined by Max's. Jace and Clary suddenly moved forward, Jace tackling the hound as Clary kicked its face, diverting his teeth away from the young Shadowhunter. Magnus scrambled to his feet and stumbled towards Rafael, immediately trying to heal the wound that could prove fatal. Alec turned just in time to see the hound shake Jace off a good distance into the lake. Alec drew his bow and knocked an arrow but froze once he caught a glance of Max.

The boy was glowing and shaking. The glamour dropped and his runed skin turned a bright blue whilst horns grew on his head. The boy's fists were sparking red and Alec watched the hound turn on Max with a warning growl before turning its soulless eyes on Alec. He felt a shudder go down his spine and his hair raise but he couldn't stop glancing at the blue Shadowhunter.

Max had never felt such fury - the sight of his brother's blood had made him see red. All his magic flooded to the surface and poured from his fingertips. He watched as the beast turned his sights on his other father and only felt the rage deepen. Before the hound could so much as step in Alec's direction, Max grabbed his seraph blade and let his red and white flames fuse with the adamas. He extended his other hand and lit the demon on fire. It screamed out in pain as white flames singed it's already burnt skin. As it started to head for the water, Max conjured a glowing roped of magic and lassoed it round the demon's neck. He slammed it down into the ground and watched it suffer from the angelic flame. However, it wouldn't die without the final blow. Max marched up to it and with all his strength, plunged the glowing blade into the monster's back, through its ribs and into its heart. The demon let out one last howl of horror before it started to smoke and disintegrate into glowing amber ash. As soon as his rage had no focal point, the adrenaline left his body and Max collapsed to the ground, exhausted from how much energy and magic he'd used.

Magnus had been able to quickly remove the poison and stitch up the wound with his magic. Rafael gasped and sat up, although his chest was in agony, he had to make sure Max was okay. He along with Magnus and the other Shadowhunters watched in shock as Max dropped the glamour and became consumed by his magic. "By the angel." Isabelle breathed.

Recognition and worry filled Magnus' eyes as the blue warlock from the other day was revealed and was facing against a powerful high level demon. There wasn't much the group could do however as the boy delivered justice swiftly with the flick of his hand - the beast yowling in pain. Everyone winced at the volume and backed away as the beast stumbled all over the place. Jace was crawling out the lake with a gaping expression as they watched the light show. Rafael didn't care if they were revealed now, he just wanted his brother to be alright and for those damn hounds to be ended once and for all.

Finally the lethal blow was dealt and nothing remained but a pile of ash. "MAX!" Rafael exclaimed and broke out of Magnus' hold to catch his collapsing brother. Everything was quiet except for Rafael's frantic breathing and rambling. "Max! Maxie! H-hey come on, y-you're gonna be okay!" He stuttered.

"What the hell just happened?" Jace exclaimed behind them.

"Max is a warlock?" Clary breathed in confusion. "B-but he has runes!" Clary blurted in confusion. No one could completely wrap their heads around what happened. Magnus, though still trying to process what he had just seen, recognised first that the boy needed help. He went to step forward but Jace held him back.

"It might be dangerous." Jace warned and suddenly, Magnus' protective side flared up.

"He's just a boy and he's hurt!" Magnus all but growled and broke out of his grip. He ran towards the two brothers and knelt beside Rafael who was still babbling in worry, stroking his brother's blue hair. Alec, having not been able to move due to shock, finally snapped out of it when he heard Magnus' words and joined the warlock beside Rafael. Even though a million questions were swirling in his mind, his heart sank when he saw the boy's blue skin turn pale.

"Help him please! Help him!" Rafael sobbed, almost hysterical. Magnus sighed sadly and turned the boy's face to look at him. Rafael looked like he was about to protest when Magnus waved his hand over his forehead and the boy went limp in his hold.

"Magnus! Why'd you do that?!" Isabelle exclaimed, coming closer.

"He needed to be calmed down. There was no way we could have separated him from Max and we need to get him back to my loft immediately. He's had a major magic depletion and it's seriously unhealthy for young warlocks!" Magnus explained and Isabelle looked worried. "Alexander, you grab Rafael. Careful, his wound isn't completely healed yet. I'll take Max." Magnus instructed, picking the warlock up and cradling him to his chest. He quickly gestured for a portal, with some struggle due to the body in his arms and hurried through. Clary gathered the mortal instruments whilst Jace grabbed Valentine, glaring at the body in his hold. They too went through the portal. Isabelle gave their surroundings one last scan and her eyes fell on something amongst the ashes of the fallen beast. Her eyes narrowed and she quickly grabbed it before shooting through the portal that was starting to close.

Chapter Text

Rafael slowly blinked his eyes open, mind foggy as he tried to make sense of where he was. What had happened? Where was he? He blinked the blur away until he focused on a dark ceiling. Then, his eyes darted about as he wondered about his brother's well-being.

Now he remembered.

He let out a breath of relief upon spying his little brother asleep next to him on a bed. The golden sheets covered the blue boy's body which rose steadily in his sleep. Rafael took in his whereabouts and deduced they were in Magnus' apartment. The layout was similar to his parent's room back in their future.

His head began to spin as he remembered the events over the past few hours. A quick glance out the window showed it was early morning. So much had happened that, only now was he given a chance to process. Valentine was dead, the angel was raised, Jace came back to life, a hell-hound attacked his father and Max killed it. They had been revealed. At the time, Rafael hadn't cared in the slightest that the cat was out of the bag but now he knew that the Shadowhunters would be asking questions.

There wasn't much left to do but tell the truth. However, they needed a back-up plan as to not screw up their timeline. He and Max were in serious danger of not existing, especially considering their parents' current fragile state of relationship. Looks like Max would have to erase some memories after all. Firstly, they needed to make sure their family could trust them and help them find a way to get home.

Rafael turned to Max and smiled at the Warlock's snores. Pulling the covers away, Rafael couldn't spot any injuries and felt grateful that Magnus had been able to help. Thinking of injuries, his hand ghosted over the point on his stomach where he'd been bitten. There was a dull ache but the skin was unmarred. An iratze or two were probably activated to speed up the process.

He turned back to Max and gently coaxed him awake by stroking through his hair. They needed to gather themselves. They had a big conversation coming up. Slowly Max roused from his sleep but, like Rafael, once he remembered what had happened, he sprung up and looked round wildly.

"Sh, sh, it's alright." Rafael soothed.

"Raf! You're alright!" Max grinned and pounced on his brother.

"Of course I'm alright you blue idiot. You're the one who went crazy." Rafael scolded.

"Sorry ... I saw the blood and couldn't stop myself lashing out." Max replied and pulled away sheepishly. Despite the fond feeling blooming in his chest, Rafael had to push on.

"Thanks for your concern, but now thanks to your tantrum the others will be wanting answers." Rafael sighed. Max bit his lip, unsure what to say. He felt like he was being a little harsh on his brother so softened up a bit. "Look, good job on killing the demon, but you need to be more wary about your well-being. Also maybe keep it more subtle next time?" Rafael smirked, mirth creeping into his tone.

Max gave a cheeky smile and nodded without saying anything. After a moment of silence, they caught the tail ends of conversation muffled through the bedroom door. The brothers shared an anxious look. "Can you activate a hearing rune to see how much trouble we're in?" Max asked. Rafael nodded and grabbed his stele off the side table which one of them must have left. That was a good sign, it showed they trusted them enough to use the stele and not activate any aggressive runes. Rafael felt a little guilty violating that trust by using the hearing rune but he needed to gauge the situation.

"I still think we should have restrained them." Came Jace's annoyed voice.

"We need to hear their side of the story." Clary tried to calm him.

"They're dangerous! You saw the younger one, he was literally on fire. How can you trust them after that?" He demanded.

"They've been helping us for days, why would they do that if they had evil intentions?" Isabelle snapped, feeling protective over the sibling in the other room.

"Hello? Am I only person who remembers Sebastian?!" Jace exclaimed. Everyone fell silent for a moment. Alec stood in the corner, not really knowing what to think. He didn't want to believe the boys were evil or spies but all his Shadowhunter instincts were telling him to question it until he was 100% certain. Magnus was silently seething, although he was suspicious of the boys' intentions, he hated how Jace was insinuating distrust because the boy was part warlock.

"How can you trust so easily after Sebastian weaselled his way into our group like they have? One of them was there when we revealed the location of the mirror, and the other kept disappearing. They must have set up the whole hell-hound thing and only now are they showing their true colours! Max especially can't be trusted, he could be one of Valentine's experiments."

Rafael grit his teeth in anger upon hearing and Max flinched as he heard through their connection. He hated that anyone would connect his brother in any way to Valentine but held himself back to see where the conversation would lead.

Magnus, however, couldn't hold the anger back anymore. "And what is that supposed to mean!?" He snarled. "That he can't be trusted because he's part warlock? How progressive of you! Just shows that the ideals of the nephilim never change!" Magnus laughed humorlessly and scowled at Jace.

"This isn't about Downworld politics! The fact remains that they are suspicious! Alec back me up." Jace urged. Alec gripped onto his elbows tightly. He was feeling honestly conflicted because he knew he felt a weird connection to the boys. Was it organic though? Had they enchanted him or were his feelings genuine? He felt sick at the idea of them being harmed but he had no reason for such protective instincts, so maybe they were plotting against them?

"You must have swallowed some lake water Jace because you're clearly not right in the head!" Isabelle snapped. "How could you believe that they would betray us? They're our friends." She insisted.

"You thought that way about Sebastian." Jace shot back, matching his sisters glare.

"This time it's different!" Isabelle fired back.

"How? What proof is there that it's any different? They could attack at any moment and we're providing BnB service!"

"First of all, I'm the one providing my home to all of you." Magnus interrupted, trying to calm himself down and speak with a level head. They shouldn't argue, but calmly settle the issue. "Second of all, I have wards up all over this apartment. They won't have the chance to attack, trust me." He reassured and a little bit of tension left the room.

Alec felt like he should speak up, he'd been silent ever since the lake. He hadn't known how to handle the situation. He didn't even know what he was supposed to be handling. He didn't want to have to deal with another betrayal. He didn't want to hurt them either. There was a moment of silence as everyone tried to figure out what to say.

"How do you know he isn't in league with Valentine? Have you seen the warlock before?" Jace accused Magnus. Insults were poised like venom on Magnus' tongue but he held himself back because he had seen the warlock before.

He gave a frustrated sigh. "Yes, I've seen the boy before." He confirmed and everyone else tensed. Max internally cursed once again at revealing his identity. He knew Magnus was too perceptive not to have noticed. Jace looked ready to argue once again but Magnus continued before the Shadowhunters grew suspicious. "Before you accuse me as well, I only met him once. He came to me a couple days ago looking for a potion to help him rebuild his strength. He got through my wards easily which shows he had no ill intentions. Of course he looked very different at the time, no runes in sight so forgive me for not recognising him straight away."

"Everyone was too focused on more important things, like, oh I don't know, the wrath demons invading New York, preventing Valentine raising the angel and my parabatai rune disappearing." Alec added, feeling frustrated with Jace's attitude and vague explanation of why the rune vanished. He clammed up after that and Alec felt all the more angry at his parabatai keeping secrets. He deserved to know.

"It's no wonder we got blind-sighted by the hell-hound given all that had happened. Let's just be thankful for now that Magnus wasn't harmed." Alec continued, throwing Magnus a softer look. Magnus shifted a little under his gaze, not knowing how to handle the affection hidden beneath the concern and relief.

Something had been bugging Clary since the lake, "Didn't um ... didn't Max shout 'Papa' when the demon arrived? What does that mean?" She asked curiously.

Jace opened his mouth to answer something along the lines of being affiliated with the demon. Isabelle quickly cut in, "He directed it at Magnus when the demon lunged at him."

"It was probably a command or something." Jace threw back.

"You think he'd look that freaked out by a demon attacking his friend if he was commanding it? Also, Rafael jumped in front of the hound, he saved Magnus' life! How could you think there was any malice there?!" Isabelle demanded.

"And why would I call the demon papa?" Max grumbled in annoyance. He felt a little embarrassed by his slip up of the tongue and knew they'd have to explain themselves. Before the conversation could continue, Simon, who had been filled in on what happened, heard movement in the other room.

"Um, not to alarm anyone but ... they're awake. I can hear them with my vamp ears." He explained. Everyone went silent and turned their gazes to the bedroom door. Rafael and Max tensed and shared a glance.

"Busted." Max whispered and Rafael smiled weakly in response.

"Time to talk it out."

Jace's hand instinctively rested on the blade as the doors started to open, feeling cautious. Everyone held their breath, waiting for the brothers to either show their true colours and attack, or explain. Max looked different to when they were by the lake. He had a glamour on that hid both his runes and warlock features, he didn't want to freak anyone out any further without explaining himself.

Magnus, noticing Rafael rubbing the spot he'd been bitten, felt a jolt of concern. They had both been hurt and he felt ill remembering the way the hound sunk its fangs into the boy's side. The boy who reminded him so much of Alec and made dread ring in his bones at the prospect of his Shadowhunter being in similar peril. "Are you alright?" He asked softly, not able to help himself.

"The iratzes did their work. It's a dull ache now." Rafael reassured. The boy then rubbed behind his neck awkwardly as he tried to figure out what to say. The Lightwoods in the room, as well as Magnus, couldn't help but notice the action being similar to Alec's tendencies. The similarities were startling and Isabelle was trying to work out how that was possible.

"You two have some explaining to do." Alec spoke up after the tense silence. Max felt a jolt of nerves as he recognised his father's scolding tone of voice. Usually it was followed by some sort of punishment, be it doing the dishes for a week or ichor duty for a day.

"Yes, we do. I know we kept stuff from you guys but it was all with good reason, I assure you." Rafael admitted, trying to stall just a little longer.

"And who are you to decide what's good for us?" Jace snapped, glaring at them. Max scowled back, not one to back down from a challenge from his uncle. Rafael held back an eye role and swatted Max's head, telling him to behave.

"Who are you?" Isabelle finally asked.

"Our names are Max and Rafael, but we're not from the LA Institute." Rafael decided to start small.

"And we are brothers, although I'm adopted." Max joined in.

"How can you use runes when you're a warlock?" Isabelle asked curiously.

Max looked a little ill as he remembered the circumstances of his birth and Rafael looked ready to jump in and explain. Max, however, gave his brother a look which told him he would tell it.

"You told us that a warlock experimented on Max when he was younger." Clary prompted, remembering their conversation after warning Imogen of Valentine. "You also said you had downworlders in your family."

Max sighed and hesitated before removing the glamour. Slowly his blue skin and horns appeared and his runes decorated his arms and neck. Shocked and awed gazes were cast round the room. Magnus felt protectiveness wash over him once again when he saw the blue warlock who had looked so lost when he came to him and made Madzie giggle.

"I um ... I guess I am a result of an experiment. My mother was a Shadowhunter and my father ... was a greater demon." Max admitted, feeling small. Magnus felt his gut twist at the shame on the boy's face and wanted to hug him close and say there was nothing to be ashamed of. He too was the son of a demon but it didn't define who they were. No one chose their parents whether they loved you or not.

"That's impossible, our blood and demon blood isn't compatible." Jace scowled.

Clary suddenly gasped where she stood and everyone turned to stare at her. "Unless ..." She started and looked over to the blue Shadowhunter.

"Unless, a warlock created a formula that could make the blood compatible. There's only one warlock crazy enough to try." Rafael filled in, fists clenching in anger.

Realisation started to dawn on the rest of the group. "Iris Rouse." Magnus filled in, disdain in his tone. "That woman never knew when to give up." He sighed and rubbed his temples in frustration.

"Iris Rouse was working for Valentine, how do we know you aren't doing the same?" Jace accused.

Max lost his temper, "I would rather die than side with Valentine! He's hurt my family countless times! He was a monster and would have killed me and the downworld regardless of whether I helped him so tell me, what could I possibly gain from working with him?!" Tears were beginning to sting his eyes and he fought to keep them back. He relaxed a little when he felt Rafael's soothing touch on his shoulder.

Everyone was silent once again, Jace had the common sense to look a little ashamed but suspicion still lay in his every move. All Alec wanted to do was comfort the boy himself and let him know that Valentine would never come back to hurt them again. His family was safer with the monster gone. He couldn't explain the tight feeling in his chest at seeing tears in the boy's eyes. Why did he feel so attached to them? He hardly knew them, he trusted them easily. He hadn't trusted a new person so easily since Magnus and he was still hurt by their distance. He shook the thoughts away. He couldn't think about that now, there were more pressing issues.

Isabelle decided to change topic and get more information without hurting Max further. "So, do you both have the same Shadowhunter mother? Is she a Truewright?"

Both boys shifted, knowing that the truth couldn't be held off any longer. "Um no, neither of us know who our mothers are but we're not related by blood. And ..." Rafael paused, trying to figure out the best way to explain.

"-we're not Truewrights." Max blurted and shrugged at his brother's exasperated expression.

"Why would you lie about your names? What are they?" Jace demanded, confusion clear on many faces.

"Promise you won't freak out?" Max smiled nervously.

"That's never a good way to start things." Isabelle snorted, crossing her arms. Everyone waited, with expectant expressions. Rafael took a breath and calmed his features, he needed to convince them after all. It was time they knew the truth.

"We're Lightwoods."

Chapter Text

"...we're Lightwoods."

Silence consumed the room. Expressions morphed into shock and confusion. Isabelle, Jace and Alec caught each other's eye with silent question. How was it possible? Rafael tried not to smirk at the way Jace looked like he was straining to understand. His uncle shook his head; he prepared for the denial.

"That's not possible."

Max sighed in disdain, this was going to be a lot harder than he thought. A lot of convincing and negotiation needed to happen before Magnus, Simon and the Shadowhunters even considered helping them get home.

"We don't have any extended family..." Isabelle added, "at least ... not any we know off." She looked unsure, sharing another contemplative gaze with her brothers. No one seemed to have anything else to say, still caught up in how impossible it was. "Do you know your father? Is he our blood connection?" She asked curiously, doubt still coating her words.

Max held back laughter at the ridiculousness of their situation and Rafael hid a smile behind his hand. "Oh we know who our father is." Max confirmed with mirth.

Their father was in the room, narrowed eyes watching them like a hawk. The suspicion in his gaze was clear as day, but the elder Lightwoods had lied about their lineage before; they'd hidden that their ancestor had gotten demon pox and shamed the Lightwood name, not to mention the fact that Robert and Maryse were active members of the circle. Who knows, maybe there were hidden family members as well. But why?

Suddenly Alec had a moment of clarity and he paled rapidly. He knew why they might have wanted to cover up the boys' existence. Rafael caught the haunted look on his father's features and wondered if he'd caught on with only their vague explanation.

"Robert ...?" Alec whispered hesitantly, almost like he didn't want to know. The mood soured instantly in the room. Anger took place upon Jace's face whilst Izzy just looked uncomfortable, fingers fiddling with her bracelet. Simon and Magnus shared an awkward glance, not prepared for being included in the Jeremy Kyle-esque Shadowhunter drama.

Max and Rafael were horrified. They'd heard about their grandparents affair but it was a fairly taboo subject in their household. Max felt sick. "No, no, no, no!" He quickly jumped in. "No, no way, ew, no!" He continued and Rafael glared at his brother, flicking his ear.

"Don't overdo it." Rafael grumbled quietly before turning to the confused party in the room. "Robert isn't our father." Rafael confirmed calmly.

Jace finally lost patience. "Then who is?!"

The boys shared a look. They couldn't put it off any more. "Alec is our father." Max finally admitted, going a little shy as he waited for their family's reaction.

Alec almost choked on his tongue, not believing what he'd just heard. Isabelle gasped dramatically and looked at her brother like she'd never seen him before. Many emotions warred within her; surprise, doubt, confusion, and pride. She never expected her law abiding big-brother to be so scandalous. Her inner rebel applauded it but her inner sibling felt betrayed by her lack of knowledge.

Jace looked like he was in pain from trying to comprehend the whole situation. His face couldn't settle on one emotion and he kept looking like he wanted to say something but nothing came out. He also looked at Alec like he'd never seen him before and wondered how his own parabatai could be a parent and he not know it. Was their relationship a lie? How was it possible? How young was Alec when he had them? I THOUGHT HE WAS GAY?! Jace's mind was spinning with this knowledge and he felt the denial rushing back up his throat - there was no way he could be so wrong about his brother.

Simon and Clary had backed away from their moment and were observing with wide eyes from the back of the room. This was some soap opera shit and Simon almost wished they had some popcorn to complete this thrilling moment.

Magnus' jaw literally dropped at the information, eyes as wide as saucers. All his mind could conjure was Alexander's a father? Alexander? A father? ALEC IS A FATHER? ALEXANDER? A FATHER!? Alec? He was so blind sighted by this information he didn't even stop the consider the impossibilities of that statement. Not to mention that Rafael was a year younger than his Shadowhunter so Alec would have had to have been one year's old when he'd had him. Magnus, however, didn't focus on the plausibility and stood there frozen in his incredulity.

Alec was spluttering and stuttering in disbelief. "E-excuse me?!"

Max and Rafael knew they had to explain but, they too were starting to think about the absurdity of it all and found themselves in shock, wondering how they could even begin to explain. Alec looked at Rafael, saw his own face staring back - the hazel eyes and the unruly dark hair. The Lightwood heritage was plain as day. Alec could feel himself starting to hyperventilate. There was no way. There was NO WAY.

"I- But don't- You can't- I can't- I didn't- y-you can't be- I- I d-didn't even- didn't even have s-sex with anyone until I met Magnus!" Alec blurted out from his chaotic thoughts. He blushed instantly after revealing this fact.

Magnus' jaw snapped shut, brain still whirring. If he had a moment, he'd stop to admire the flustered Shadowhunter fondly. He was reassured that his innocent Alexander hadn't lied about his first time; it had been such a special and cherished memory in the warlocks mind. The stumbling, the laughter, the kisses, the-

He shook those thoughts away. Now wasn't the time. The facts  started to register in his calming mind. It wasn't biologically possible, Alexander was too young to have a grown child. The boys had to be lying. The warlock felt a little embarrassed by his delayed common sense, too shocked and hurt at the prospect of his ... or his ex boyfriend, having lied about his experiences the whole time they were together. He usually enjoyed this kind of Idris gossip, but this was really going too far, especially since he had a personal stake in it. The warlock winced slightly as he remembered his place, he and Alec weren't in a relationship anymore - he had no right to be involved in this.

"... And you don't know your mother?" Isabelle finally interjected, still reeling from the surprise. Alec looked at his sister, horrified that she'd even entertain this idea. He wasn't a father!

"No, she was a surrogate. I don't know what Shadowhunter family she comes from, I think her name was Christine though." Rafael admitted, not sure if the others believed he and Max.

"It's not possible! I am not your father!" Alec burst, done with the lies. There's no way! "I think I'd remember all of this if it'd actually happened!" He spat. The other Lightwoods seemed to snap out of their stupor and finally wrap their head around the the situation. It just wasn't possible.

"If Alec had a kid we'd know about it." Jace backed up, finally getting through the shock and confusion and realising his parabatai would never hide something like this from him - at least not with good reason and especially not from Izzy.

Rafael needed to clear the air before they started getting hostile. They really needed to have planned this reveal out better. "Look, look. I know this doesn't seem possible alright? Trust me, my brother and I can barely wrap our heads around this scenario ourselves."

"It's been a freaky couple of days for us." Max admitted, biting his lip and looking wary of the anger in his family's eyes. They needed to settle this now.

"We know it sounds mental but it's the truth, we're ... we're from the future. I know that it's mad and impossible but just think for a second. It's the only plausible explanation for all of this. In a world with demons and angels and magic and portals you have to be more open minded to this concept as well." Rafael urged, hoping they'd at least be open to listening.

The room was quiet once again but doubt was still laden heavily in everyone's features. Well ... except Simon, who looked unbelievably excited about the whole possibility of time travel. He never believed a world of supernatural beings was possible, why should that be the limit?

Max continued to explain, "We came here through a portal created by those hell-hounds. They were formed by a greater demon and were a serious threat. Our team was tasked to hunt them down and kill them before they caused serious damage to the city. When we were fighting them and their shax demon entourage, they somehow opened a portal to this year or dimension. We're not completely sure if this is our timeline yet or another's. I don't think the hounds were smart enough to create the portals on their own, we believe the greater demon had a specific motive to come back in time and hurt someone, therefore changing future events." The youngest Lightwood could see the others trying to wrap their heads round how it was all possible. The only person seeming to follow along easily enough was the vampire who looked thrilled with his explanation. He held back a smirk, his uncle Simon was a sci-fi geek as well and hadn't hesitated in 'educating' he and his brother in the importance of Star Wars.

Alec looked a little ashen. It certainly explains the age thing - there was no way he could father a kid a year younger than himself. However, he was a huge sceptic, what were the odds that this was true? He knew that the word impossible didn't make a regular appearance in their world and Alec himself had said 'impossible just means try again'. Even though the idea of his sons coming back from the future is bizarre and shouldn't be applicable in the realms of their reality, he also reminded himself daily that 'all the legends are true' and to keep an open mind so he was never truly surprised.

He was truly surprised now. Surely ... surely not ... but then if ...

Alec could tell Rafael was a Lightwood, it was plain as day. From the beginning, he and Izzy had felt a connection to them, could tell there was something familiar in many things they did and in how they reacted. Could they really be ...? Could he really consider a future where he had something he never thought he would? Was he really a father? He had trusted his gut since day one, he knew he didn't want those boys harmed, he knew he wanted to protect them with everything he had. So maybe it wasn't so impossible.

But wow, him? A father? Who was the mother? Why was there a surrogate? Did he have a partner? Did he have M-

He swallowed the lump in his throat. That's something he couldn't consider right now. There was something bigger happening at hand. His questions would surely be answered in time.

"It hasn't been easy y'know." Max admitted tiredly. "You all look so different and ... this time is so foreign and everything that's happened in only the past few days has ... I never imagined-" Max cut himself off, feeling emotional. Alec felt his heart clench at the distress on his boy's face. They'd been up against Valentine, in a war, Sebastian, demons, danger-

... his boy?

"It was a little weird calling you by your first name as well." Max chuckled, looking directly into Alec's eyes and trying to lighten the mood.

"Not to mention us practically being the same age." Rafael smirked, joining in.

Alec couldn't help the slight twitch of his lips. The way Max looked at him ... as if he could do no wrong. He looked at him with love and pride and hope and ... could anyone fake that? Alec felt the itch to hug them both but he held back. There was always the possibility that this was a trick. An awful trick. He found he didn't want it to be false.

Magnus felt odd. He remembered liking both the boys upon meeting them. He felt a great fondness for the little warlock and admired Rafael's strong sense of leadership and compassion - traits he adored in his own Shadowhunter. He had felt protective. It's no wonder really, everyone who was a part of Alec's family had stolen a place in Magnus' heart. His children should be no different, especially with how they've turned out to be so similar to the eldest Lightwood. Magnus smiled a sad smile, at least Alec was happy in the future - he had this to look forward to. He'd  be alright on his own, without ... without Magnus. Even though his heart was hurting, he knew all he wanted was Alec to be happy.

"This is nonsense." Jace still denies. Clearly he wasn't open to the time travel thing.

"God, have you always been such a dick? You're not this difficult back in our time." Max retorts and Rafael notices his Magnus flare. He wonders if his Papa sees it too.

Simon, being the self-proclaimed time travel expert, decided to intervene. "Hi, um, sorry, how's it goin'? Um, if you're telling the truth then you can prove it. You must be aware of the majority of events in this timeline. I'm sure our older selves will have told you what has happened here today and the events leading up to it. In the movies they usually know intimate details of the past and present."

Jace rolled his eyes at Simon's comment but everyone else stopped to consider it. The Lightwood-Bane brothers shared a look. "We could answer whatever questions you have. We're kind of wary of it affecting our future though. There might be a few things we can't answer depending on whether we'd cease to exist as a result." Rafael tried to explain. The others considered this carefully.

Isabelle's eyes lit up with excitement. Now that she started to consider the possibility of them being from the future, she had many questions. Why not ask them now? However, she couldn't start with questions about the future for confirmation since they'd have to wait and see whether it happened. She held herself back and tried to think of a more serious way to determine whether they knew intimate details about their life that no casual friend or acquaintance would know.

"What is the name of the woman that Robert is having an affair with?" She asked bluntly and caused Jace and Alec to flinch.

Rafael sighed, "Annamarie Highsmith." He replied, equally as blunt.

"Correct. Hardly anyone knows about the affair. Not even my brothers know who the woman is. I know because I saw one of dad's letters." Isabelle admitted sadly. Alec and Jace looked pained.

"That still doesn't prove anything. We don't know for sure that rumours haven't spread in Idris. There are other ways for word to get out." Jace sighed, still sceptical.

"Then you ask a question." Max sneered.

Jace scowls back but thinks for a moment. "What was Alec, mine and Izzy's childhood motto?" he smirks.

"Three go in, three come out." Max replied without hesitation. Jace's smirk was wiped away but he still didn't believe them.

"There's still ways you could have found out." He shrugs. Rafael put a calming hand on Max's shoulder as he looked like he was about to burst with anger. However Max was flustered enough and wanted to prove they were who they said they were, he was sick of having to lie.

"I know why you're parabatai rune disappeared." He snapped. Rafael closed his eyes in frustration but knew it was too late now. Jace paled as Alec's attention snapped to his brother, eyes narrowed. "In the future you tell us what happened because it is the start of something so much bigger!" Max hisses.

"Max." Rafael said softly but with warning in his tone. They needed to broach this topic with more tact, especially if it affected their timeline.

"What are they talking about?" Alec directed his question at Jace.

"They're lying." Jace tried to refute. Clary looked warily between Jace and Alec, she felt their friends deserved to know but had kept her promise. It appeared that everything would be revealed anyway. Alec looked at the boys expectantly.

"Why did my parabatai rune disappear?" He asked calmly with no room for argument. Max looked hesitant then, so Rafael took over. Looks like there's no going back. Max would definitely have to erase some memories after this conversation.

"Jace was stabbed and killed by Valentine. Clary killed Valentine then raised the angel to bring Jace back to life." Rafael explained, preparing for the back lash. All eyes snapped to Jace and Clary in shock.

"You made the wish?" Isabelle asked incredulously. Jace looked like he wanted to argue but sighed and gave up. Clary also looked ashamed of lying to their friends. They didn't deny it.

Alec's jaw clenched in frustration. "How long did you plan to keep this from us?" He asked angrily.

Jace swallowed, "Knowing would have put you in danger. You know what position you would be in with the Clave. They would have sent everyone to the guard-" Alec made an angry noise in the back of his throat. He took long strides towards his parabatai and punched him in the face.

"ALEC!" Isabelle exclaimed as Magnus' magic fizzed at his fingertips - ready to break up a fight if need be. Jace had stumbled back and clutched his nose. He straightened up once again, looking Alec in the eye and expecting another hit. Max and Rafael held their breath as they watched Jace close his eyes in preparation as Alec advanced again. Isabelle tried to tug him back. This probably wasn't a good idea ... Max felt bad for revealing the information, no matter how much of a dick Jace was, he still loved his uncle and didn't want him to fight with his father.

However, at the last minute Alec pulled Jace into a bone-crushing hug. "You god damn idiot." Alec muttered into his brother's shoulder. Everyone, including Jace, relaxed, and the tense atmosphere began to fade. Jace wrapped his arms around his parabatai and held him tightly. "You know you can tell me anything. I'll endure anything for you, for my family. We would have found a way round it. We need to know, or we'll get worried dumbass." Alec pulled away and smiled at his idiot brother. Jace smiled sheepishly and gave him a small nod.

Jace turned to Rafael and Max with confusion in his gaze. There was no way that anyone but he and Clary could have known that. Could they really ...?

Rafael saw his conflict and decided to convince them once and for all. "I promise we're telling the truth. Magnus can give us a DNA test if you really want to know." The High Warlock lifted an eyebrow at the mention of his power before looking to the Shadowhunters for confirmation. Mainly the tall, dark and handsome one currently biting his gorgeous red lips in consideration. Godammit Bane, keep it together.

Alec gave the warlock a nod as a go-ahead. Magnus let out a breath and summoned his magic to warm his fingertips. Rafael suddenly realised something. There might be more that Magnus came across if he gave Max the test as well. Oh god how could they have not brought it up sooner?

"Wait!" He said before Magnus' magic could reach him. The High warlock looked at him suspiciously, doubt creeping in on whether he was telling the truth about his DNA. "Before you test both of us, there's probably something you should know." Rafael admits and catches Max's eye. He glances in Magnus' direction and understanding crosses his features. He gives his brother a subtle nod of support.

"Our full names ... my name is Rafael Santiago Lightwood-Bane."

"And I'm Max Michael Lightwood-Bane."

Chapter Text

"holy shit." Jace breathed into the silence.

Magnus' jaw was dangerously close to unhinging. Lightwood-Bane? It sounded so tantalisingly sweet. Could it really be possible? Those two boys standing in front of him ... his boys? His sons? Magnus' eyes began to sting with the possibility. He'd never had a family - none other than his chosen friends. To actually love and nurture ... he felt like he'd collapse from joy. Could he really be so lucky after all those lonely centuries? To raise children with ...

Magnus' eyes darted to Alec. The Shadowhunter was already looking at the warlock with shock and ... hope? Raising children with Alexander. Magnus didn't think a perfect sentence could exist. He swallowed thickly as he held his nephilim's gaze. He didn't think he could be this shocked more than once in one day. Sure, finding out that a Shadowhunter would have kids in the future wasn't so hard to grasp but ... a queer Shadowhunter and Downworlder having children together? It was unheard of. Magnus held back the urge to whimper and fall into his Shadowhunter's arms. He and Alexander were still on the outs and the future wasn't definite. The promise of what they could have was so sweet but the decision was, still, ultimately theirs in the present. The sweet became sour in Magnus' mouth.

Alec hadn't torn his eyes away from Magnus since the boys had uttered their names. A warmth bloomed in his chest and started a fire in his heart. He was determined to have that future with Magnus. He wanted his beautiful warlock and he wanted him forever. Never before had he felt such motivation to do something - to fix something. All those times he cleaned up after his siblings, everything he was determined to fix, the Lightwood reputation, his wedding. Nothing compared to the burning need to have Magnus again. He was in love with him and he wanted to eventually raise children with him. Alec turned back to Rafael and Max with a softened gaze. These children.

Magnus, impatient to know whether they were telling the truth, stepped closer and hovered a sparking hand over the boys. If it was true ... Magnus swallowed and let his magic work over Rafael and Max. He felt his breath hitch when he felt Rafael's blood pump and reveal the years of Lightwood genes coursing through his being. Not only that but Magnus' magic was accepted readily by Max's - a familiar gesture built over years of nurture and trust. There was a bond there, one formed naturally by Warlocks over years of familiarity. Magnus' throat clicked as he withdrew and a tear or two escaped as he looked at his children.

"It's true." He croaked.

Max couldn't help the tears in his eyes when he saw the recognition and acceptance on his Papa's face. He couldn't help himself as he pulled Magnus into a tight hug. He'd been starved of his parents' affection for days stuck in an unknown world. He wanted his father's comfort. He didn't want to be hurt by the nonrecognition in their family's eyes any longer. Rafael joined in, wrapping his long arms around his brother and father, cradling them both in their emotional state. He gave Alec a watery smile over Magnus' shoulder. Alec found a smile creep onto his lips and he ducked his head, feeling affection consume him.

Isabelle couldn't help but let out a sob - it was everything she wanted for her brother. It was fair to say that everyone's eyes were shining. All the scepticism was erased by their trust in Magnus and his power. Alec was a father and he had a future with Magnus if he pursued it. Clary and Simon shared a smile, happy for their friends. 

Isabelle felt a wave of relief befall her - similar to the one she felt at Alec's wedding. She always knew someone would love him heart and soul. Now he had that love and the promise of a family. She knew Alec would, like he had for his siblings, love them with everything he was. She thought her brother deserved the world after everything he'd been through and now he had it.

Jace could no longer deny the truth. He felt happiness for his parabatai - knowing he had a future to look forward to. Not to mention he could get Magnus back. He'd been so miserable without the warlock. Jace could feel Alec's pain through the bond pulsing for the last few days. So much so, that Jace could almost always feel a diluted version of his ache. He didn't want Alec to fall back to his repressive days. He was so worried he'd close off again but no, he was determined to march on. He was so much stronger now. Jace had never given enough thought to his brother's emotions since they tended not to talk about them. However, he could tell Alec was never really living - never really feeling before he met Magnus. He recognised the difference when he felt genuine joy through the bond for the first time. The fact that Alec had never felt truly happy before had made Jace sad and pushed him to support Alec in his relationship and leadership. He would do anything he could to help them if only to feel that joy through the bond again. 

Magnus pulled away after a moment, fondly patting Max's blue head. The brothers grinned in response before turning to the rest of the room. Alec regarded them with a shy smile, not really knowing what to do with himself and the feelings that were surfacing. His main concern was Magnus. He wanted to whisk him away and talk to him about what this all meant. He wanted to know if he'd let Alec kiss him stupid. God he missed him. However, this wasn't over. 

Clary broke the silence. "So that's why Max shouted 'Papa' during the attack." Max flushed and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. 

"Yeah, didn't really think ... for most of it actually." He admitted. 

"You were just scared. It's alright." Rafael smiled. He too felt the relief at the truth finally being out the open. A weight had been lifted from their shoulders and they could work together to find a way home. 

"How did you get here?" Jace asked, tone a lot more accommodating than before. 

Rafael sighed. "We don't know for sure. Dad, or, uh ... Alec sent our team on a mission to kill a horde of Shax demons that had been multiplying in the local cemetery. We didn't know why there was so much activity until we got a warning from pa- Magnus. Demon activity had spiked in the area because a ritual was taking place. We were put on guard when it was confirmed that two hell-hounds were approaching the scene. We'd encountered them before but it seemed like they had a different agenda. Max pursued them on his own so I rushed after him." Rafael narrowed his eyes at Max who rolled his eyes. "They created a portal somehow which transported them to this time period. We were cut off from Alexandra and Madzie." He explained, slipping into his no-nonsense-head-of-the-institute head-space.  

"Madzie?" Magnus blurted in surprise. Max grinned, "She's our friend, we grew up with her and auntie Cat." He winked and Magnus adorned another soft smile at the new information. 

"Whose Alexandra?" Jace asked, eyeing Alec. Did he have a daughter as well? Max and Rafael shared an awkward look. 

"She's my parabatai," Max admitted and bit his lip, wondering how to break the news. "And ... she's, uh, your daughter?" Jace's eyes shot wide open.

"What?!" He barked. 

"Yup, you and Clary." Rafael clarified, watching the two Shadowhunters blush bright red. "Her name is a nightmare though." Rafael smirked. 

"She hates it ... well not her first name. She was named after our father after all." Max grinned, giving a pointed look to Alec who also blushed. "It's all the other names. The full version is Alexandra Fairchild Lightwood Herondale. A lot of Shadowhunter families in there." Max chuckled. Jace and Clary share a sheepish smile although Jace still looks slightly awkward. 

"S-so um ... hm." Jace cleared his throat and tried to snap out of it, "So, what sent those demons? Where did they come from?" 

 Rafael sighed in disdain, "There's only one powerful enough with the intent to send those demons back in time to meddle with our family."

Max scowled, "Our ass-hole grandfather." Magnus tensed, jaw clenching, as the others gaped.

"Robert?!" Jace blurted in disbelief. 

Max rolled his eyes. "No." 

Magnus turned on his heel and made his way to the drinks cabinet, pouring some whiskey into a glass to calm his nerves. Alec noticed his Warlock's tensed movements and the slight shake of his fingers around the glass. Without thinking he walked over and put a soothing hand on his shoulder. "Magnus." Alec whispered soothingly. Magnus let out a breath through his nose and closed his eyes for a moment before turning to look at Alec. 

"Magnus' father." Isabelle clarified, "...whose a demon." 

Magnus turned to the room, taking a gulp of his drink. He made hesitant eye contact with Max and Rafael. "Not just any demon." Max clarified, searching Magnus for permission. He knew his father was never comfortable about his lineage. 

Anger suddenly simmered beneath the Warlock's skin. "He went after you?" He asked, tone cold. When Max and Rafael nodded, the anger boiled over and his glamour slipped, exposing his gleaming cat eyes to the room. Alec felt a hitch in his breath upon witnessing them again. Even though they were filled with fury, Alec thought Magnus' eyes were beautiful and signified the trust Magnus had in him. He loved his eyes and felt indescribably happy at seeing them again despite circumstances. He pushed those thoughts down as he tried to focus on why Magnus was so furious. 

Magnus put his glass down firmly before addressing the room with a hardened resolve. "Asmodeus is my father." He admitted to the surprised Nephilim. Guess it wasn't so hard for them to be shocked more than once in one day. 

"Asmodeus? The Asmodeus?!" Isabelle exclaimed, awe in her eyes. Clary and Simon shared a look of confusion.

"Um ... who's Asmoedus?" Clary piped up. 

"He's one of the seven princes of hell, remember Azazel?" Jace explained, looking at Magnus like he'd never seen him before. Clary gave Magnus an impressed smile. Magnus however, was watching Alec for his reaction. Not many people knew of his parentage. It was smart to keep it under lock and key considering how powerful the demon was. 

Alec looked a little star struck at the information. "I'm sorry I never told you ..." Magnus said quietly. "I was ashamed." He admitted, fingers rubbing nervously together. 

Alec snapped out of his stupor at the self-deprecating look on the Warlock's face. His hand shot out to take Magnus', softly rubbing his knuckles. "Hey ..." breathed, "it's alright ... I knew you had a demon parent, I just ... Asmodeus." Alec was still trying to wrap his head around it. Magnus' lips twitched upwards at the look on his Nephilim's face. Alec turned to Max and Rafael.

"Why would Asmodeus send those hellhounds here?" He didn't let go of Magnus' hand. 

"Papa told us that Asmodeus planned to 'undo' us. I'd deduce that means killing off our family before we even exist." Max frowned, clutching his elbows tight at the thought of everyone getting hurt. Magnus scowled and squeezed Alec's hand, getting a reassuring squeeze in return. 

"It's alright they're dead now." Alec reassured and the others in the room relaxed. 

"What about you two? How are you getting back?" Simon asked. 

The brothers looked a little distressed. "We haven't worked it out yet. We don't even know how the hounds got here. Portal science isn't as advanced as time travel when we're from. There's been a few advancements but this is still foreign magic to us. There must have been a power source accumulated outwith a Warlock or demon." Rafael pondered. 

Max perked up, "I did find one thing on the first hell-hound I banished." Max informed and Rafael let out an exasperated breath,

"And you only mention this now?!" He snapped. Max looked a little embarrassed before reaching into his pocket and producing a purple shard. It was jagged on one side and smooth on the other. Rafael held it up to the light and saw pulses of magic and a demonic rune carved into the centre. 

"That's a portal shard." Magnus stated, taking a closer look. "The demonic rune has infused it with greater demon magic. It probably increased the portal's power. I assume my father added a calculation to pinpoint the accurate time period." 

Isabelle suddenly remembered her pickings from the other hell-hound. "Hang on!" She exclaimed and searched through her pockets. "Before we left the lake I saw this in the hound's remains." She pulled out another purple shard similar to the one in Max's grasp. Magnus assessed them both before getting an idea.

"Hand it over." He coaxed Isabelle. She did so willingly and watched as Magnus brought the shard to Max's. "Look, they're both cracked down one side but are smooth on the other. If you join them together they could probably conjure another portal. I could probably fuse them together but we'd need to find the correct spell." Magnus offered. 

Max and Rafael grinned at each other. "It might not work though." Magnus added just in case.

"It's a start." Rafael smiled gratefully. 

"Guess I'll get started then." Magnus smirked, taking the shards and swaggering off to his library. Alec watched Magnus as he left the room and felt the urge to go after him. They hadn't had the opportunity to talk yet. He wanted to know what was going on in the warlock's head. He wanted to know where they stood. He turned to the others to see if they'd notice him leaving. Isabelle and Simon were already excitedly questioning the boys about the future. Jace and Clary were awkwardly trying to talk about what they'd learnt. 

It was decided. Alec took in a deep breath and went after his Warlock. 

~

Magnus skim-read his notes from when he invented the portal with Henry Branwell. He knew there were a few spells which he could adapt if he used enough power. He could look some up in different dialects to get a more accurate result. Maybe he could combine two spells? How exciting, the 800-year-old Warlock was rising to the challenge. The stones should have enough juice to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to power thanks to father. Now he just had to channel it through the right spell. They didn't have Asmodeus' calculation so the spell would have to suffice. 

 Alec quietly entered the study and took a moment to admire Magnus as he studiously poured through his resources. The Warlock had shucked his jacket and pushed his sleeves up to his elbows revealing strong caramel forearms. Alec swallowed the lump in his throat and suppressed the want to sooth the furrow between the Warlock's eyes. God, he was so in love. He missed him. 

  "Um, hi." An awkward mumble broke through Magnus' thoughts. Magnus swivelled on the spot, eyes wide. Alec stood in the doorway, an awkward look on his face. He looked like he was about to burst but didn't know how to articulate his feelings as usual. 

"Alexander." Magnus addressed cautiously. He felt a little nervous being alone with the Shadowhunter after all the emotional revelations. Despite that, his heart fluttered in his chest. He couldn't deny the curiosity to know how the Shadowhunter felt about their predicament. He hadn't said much. 

"H-hey." Alec stuttered and cursed internally. "How are you feeling?" He found himself blurting through his jumbled thoughts. 

"A little tired but I'm doing alright. Nothing a coffee or two won't fix." Magnus retorted with mirth. Alec bit his lip, Magnus was always so put together and it was difficult breaking down his walls. He hid behind his wit and nonchalance and he felt a twinge of sadness at having to earn back the right to see his Warlock be vulnerable once again. 

"Can we talk?" Alec asked softly. He watched as Magnus' arms slid up to his elbows, creating a defensive barrier. It didn't look like the Warlock was conscious of the movement and was too busy thinking through what he was prepared to say. He dragged his, now glamoured, eyes up to meet Alec's.

"Yeah." Magnus finally breathed, leaning back against his desk. Alec licked his lips nervously before glancing behind him and closing the door to give them more privacy. 

"Magnus I'm sorry." Alec finally said into the silence. 

"Don't apologise." Magnus replied softly. 

"No, I should have told you about the soul sword."

"It's in the past." Magnus affirmed, arms tightening round himself. Alec paused, not really sure where to go from here. He was prepared to do a little more apologising before forgiveness. He swallowed and tried to collect his thoughts. This was an important moment for him - for them

"I ... I know a lot has happened in the last few days. I haven't really had a moment to catch my breath but ..." Alec breathed in, steadying his nerves. "But I know that ... it hasn't been easy without you. Things being difficult isn't anything new but having you with me always ... I always ... Magnus I don't think I can live without you." Alec admitted, hands shaking. 

Magnus' eyes darted up to meet Alec's. He couldn't read the expression on the Warlock's face but there seemed to be conflict warring in his eyes. "I-I know we've fought and it sucks and ... but I know that I want you in my life. I want you to know that everything that's happened in the last few hours hasn't influenced my decision. I ... I miss you Magnus." Alec got out, holding back tears. 

Magnus' expression finally broke and he looked at Alec with a deep fondness and sparkling eyes. "I've missed you too ... I can hardly do anything without thinking of you." He gave a watery smile. "And ... I want you to know that I want a future with you, whatever future."

Alec grinned wide and took a few steps forward to be closer to his Warlock. He slid a hand round the back of Magnus' neck, fiddling with the hair there. Magnus dropped the glamour and Alec felt giddy at the sight of them once again. "I love you Magnus Bane." Alec confessed, looking into Magnus' amber eyes. 

"I love you too Angel." Magnus smiled softly and reached out for his Shadowhunter's shirt. Both tugged at the other at the same time, lips crashing together. Magnus breathed happily into the kiss and passionately moulded his lips with Alec's. Alec replied in kind, savouring the taste of his lover's lips after the cruel absence. His fingers crept up to cup the back of Magnus' head, pressing them as close as possible whilst the Warlock's fingers tangled tightly in his clothes. When Magnus pulled back for a breath, Alec chased his lips and sealed them again with a hum. Magnus released his grip and slid his arms round the Shadowhunter's shoulders, pressing them together from top to toe. He felt his heart beat wildly and his happiness soar as he breathed his Shadowhunter in. He missed his warmth, his scent, the smacking of their lips. Eventually they broke apart, panting heavily. Alec couldn't stop grinning at Magnus who had moved to stroke Alec's face. 

Alec pulled Magnus into a tight hug, closing his eyes and inhaling. He loved Magnus' scent, how perfectly he fit in his arms, how he could feel his muscles through the shirt ... he loved everything about the Warlock and he had missed being so close. He never wanted to be without him again.

Chapter Text

Rafael and Max grinned at each other on the other side of the study door. Everything was right once again. All they needed to do now was get back to their own time and let things run its course. However, to do that they needed a spell. Rafael knocked on the door to warn the recently reunited couple of their presence. They were happy for their parents but they didn't want to hang around and hear them kissing and being all lovey-dovey. 

Magnus cleared his throat. "Y-yes, come in." He announced, straightening out his lapels and rubbing his thumb over his lips. He could still taste his Shadowhunter. He smirked slightly at the dirty thoughts that threatened to surface. Any other time Magnus would be happy to voice them just to get a rise and blush out of Alec but maybe they weren't appropriate for his future children who had just entered the room. Throughout the exchange, Alec had not once let go of Magnus - as if afraid to now that he had him back. His hand rested loosely on Magnus' waist. The Warlock felt a warmth at his side and a softness take over his smile. He had Alec back.

"Sorry to interrupt." Max grinned cheekily and marched in. He hoisted himself up on the desk, whilst his brother took a more reserved approach. He stood up straight, hand clasped behind his back in the centre of the room. The likeness to Alec was painfully apparent. 

"It's no bother, I assume we're used to this in the future with troublemakers such as yourselves roaming about." Magnus smirked, his own fingers seeking out his Shadowhunter as he giddily referenced their future together. 

Max humphed. "Sometime it doesn't stop you." He muttered and Magnus chuckled as Alec blushed. 

"How are you doing? I can't imagine all of this is easy to take in." Rafael asked, straight to the point. Like father, like son. 

Alec thought for a moment and took Magnus' hand, "We're ... processing." was all he could come up with. "Not sure 'my kids came back from the future' can ever be fully normalised." He admitted. His bewilderment had just taken a back seat to fixing his relationship with Magnus. 

Max giggled at the look on his father's face. "It's a good story though." He shrugged, more relaxed than he had been the whole time he'd been there. 

"Despite the ... absurdity." Alec started, taking in his boys. "I'd be happy to know my future has you both in it. Thank you for all your help." Alec smiled and separated from Magnus to pull Rafael, who was closest, in a hug. The boy froze up for a moment before wrapping his arms round his father, smile widening. Max let out a noise and hopped down from the desk. He buried into Alec's other side. Alec accommodated him and hugged his kids tight. Magnus swore he felt his heart melt at the sight. 

"It's been hard ... the past few days." Max admitted, hair ruffled as he pulled back from the embrace. "Seeing our family ... keeping quiet." Max sighed and Rafael put a comforting hand on his brother's shoulder. "There was so much we wanted to tell you ... to warn you about - Sebastian in particular." He pointed out bitterly, scowling at the memory of the bastard hiding in plain sight. 

"It was better that you didn't." Magnus comforted. 

"We don't know what will affect our future or not. We were so conflicted about telling you guys and now that you know, we're relieved but ... I'm a little anxious to know how this affects Max and I directly." Rafael admitted. "Things could be totally different when we get back - butterfly effect and all that." 

The family shared contemplative looks. Magnus let out a sigh - there was a definite way to make sure nothing was affected. "Then it's settled. To protect you boys and our future, all memories of this experience will need to be erased." 

"What?!" Max exclaimed in surprise. Alec also looked reluctant. 

"I agree." Rafael nodded, lips turned down. 

"You mean ... every trace of us?" Max asked sadly. 

"I'm afraid so." Magnus confirmed and locked eyes with Alec. He got the sudden sinking feeling as another realisation crossed his mind. "And ... I'm afraid we'll have to erase the last couple of hours as well - we were all congregated here because of you boys and the situation with the hell-hounds. They will need to be erased as well or there'll be holes in our memories."

Alec's eyes went wide. "The last few hours? But ... but th-then ... we ..." Alec trailed off in distress. Magnus cupped Alec's face in his hands. 

"I know darling, I know ... I don't like it but we need to let things run their course ... we need to find another way back to each other. You told me we always do remember?" Magnus smiled hopefully, thumb brushing over Alec's cheekbones. 

Alec's eyes closed as he savoured his boyfriend's touch. He felt an ache at losing his Warlock once again. He knew he wouldn't remember but he'd be going back to the emptiness without Magnus' warmth filling the void. "Isn't there anything you can leave behind?" Alec whispered, turning to kiss Magnus' palm. 

"Do you really want to take that chance? Risk their lives?" Magnus asked softly and turned Alec's gaze to his sons who were awkwardly trying not to intrude on their personal moment. Alec breathed in deeply and considered it. If everything went back to normal then their future was likely to stay the same - which meant he would definitely get Magnus back eventually as well as their kids. If he made efforts to get just Magnus back, it could risk his future of having Max and Rafael. There really was only one choice. 

"No, you're right." Alec swallowed, meeting Magnus' eyes. His heart sped up as he once again had the privilege of staring into golden cat eyes. "Just promise me I'll get you back." Alec pleaded.

"I love you Alexander." Magnus beamed.

"I love you too." Alec smiled and kissed his Warlock again, savouring it while he could. Rafael and Max smiled at each other. Although they were disheartened that their family wouldn't remember their time together, they had a time to get back to that held so many more memories.

"Right." Magnus breathed, once he and Alec had finished consoling each other. "Let's get this show on the road."

~

"WHAT? FORGET?!" Jace exclaimed. Max winced at the volume. "After all that?" He huffed in frustration.

"It's the only way to make sure their future is certain. Things will follow the natural course of time this way." Magnus explained calmly. 

"But you and Alec ..." Isabelle pointed out sadly. The couple shared a reassuring smile.

"We'll work it out." Alec assured. No way was he letting Magnus go again. 

"I will be performing the memory spell. I'll take everything related to Max and Rafael." Magnus explained. He opened his spell book and flicked through the pages to find the right one.

"Aw man, I have to forget time travel exists? That sucks." Simon grumbled.

"Priorities Mundane." Alec sighed, rolling his eyes.

"I'm not a Mundane! I'm a vampire." Simon huffed and Isabelle chuckled as she laid a comforting hand on his shoulder. 

Magnus, ignoring the drama, continued, "Naturally this will be a big spell and take a lot of magic as I also have to take memories from those in the institute undetected to tie up any loose ends about the boys' whereabouts." Magnus then turned to the blue Warlock. "Since I cannot do it myself, you will then need to take my memories Max. I will show you how to do it." Magnus smiled. Max nodded anxiously. He did not want to be responsible for that going wrong.

"We'll miss you guys." Isabelle grinned and pulled Max and Rafael in for a bear hug. "It's been a blast but I suppose I'll see you in a couple years?" She teased and the boys smiled in return. Goodbyes were given throughout the group with a grumbled apology from Jace which had clearly been prompted by Clary's stern look. 

Magnus finally had everything in place for the spell and held tightly to Alec's hand, giving it one last kiss. Alec smiled softly at his lover - they'd be ok. They always found their way back to each other. Magnus spoke a few words in Latin and summoned a flurry of blue from his fingertips which reached out to the others in the room bar Max and Rafael. With his other hand clasped in Alec's, he drew a little strength from the Shadowhunter to make sure things went smoothly.

Once the transaction was completed, Magnus put the others to sleep and portal-ed them back to the institute where they'd wake up in their own beds, hopefully without questions.

"Right troublemakers. To the institute." Magnus smirked.

~

Max eyed the burial ground with trepidation. What if it didn't work? He looked over his shoulder to see his Papa weaving a spell together with the shards - likely inputting the calculation. 

"How is he still going, shouldn't he be drained of magic by now?" Rafael murmured within Max's earshot. Max grinned - their father was all levels of powerful. He was still competent enough to do two massive memory and time-travel spells after a major magic depletion. It was starting to show though - his frame was weary. 

"That's gonna be three steaks and a bottle." Max teased and Rafael snorted. Finally the spell was done, the last of the latin words leaving Magnus' mouth and making the demonic runes flash.

"Right." Magnus heaved a sigh and handed it to Max who swallowed anxiously. "Show-time young warlock." Magnus smiled fondly and ruffled his blue curls. Max swatted his hand and took a breath - he would get him and his brother home. "Now remember, be gentle when sifting through my memories but be thorough, I can't have a single clue or I'll begin to question and possibly remember. If not something else could fill the gaps and confuse me. I don't doubt I'm clever enough to recover my own memories if I'm suspicious enough." Magnus smirked and Max laughed. 

"Got it." Max nodded nervously. 

"You'll be fine Max, we have faith in your skill. You defeated both those hounds remember?" Rafael grinned. 

"Just repeat the words 'suscipe me in domum suam' when you create the portal and think of the last place you portal-ed from - i.e. this cemetery in the future." Magnus instructed. 

Max nodded in determination and leaned up to place his palms on his father's temple. He gazed into tired cat eyes and smiled at the trust behind them. He was so lucky to have the family he did. "I'll do my best."

Magnus smirked and watched as Max's white magic gently sunk into his mind and trickled through his memories of the last three days, plucking and placing, nicking and picking. After ten minutes of careful work, the young warlock pulled back and caught his father's heavy frame as he fell unconscious. 

"You alright?" Rafael asked - hopefully he had enough juice to get them home.

"I'm his son aren't I?" Max smirked and portal-ed Magnus back to the loft. Rafael rolled his eyes but couldn't help the fondness that crept up within him. 

"Come on, time to go. We don't know how long we've been missing." Rafael hooked his arm round his brother's shoulder and guided them to the scorched remains of the first portal that started this whole mess. Max's gaze lingered on the burnt symbols in the ground for a moment, before inhaling and opening the portal. It made a jerky movement from the shards - not as smooth as a regular portal. Max only hoped it was because of the strain of travelling through time. 

"Suscipe me in domum suam." Max took a hold of Rafael's hand and watched as the purple went from gold to purple to red. The brothers shared one last look before stepping through. 

Once again, Max felt like he was being pulled in so many directions. His brain was fuzzy then super sharp, his body felt heavy then light as air. He felt ill, yet all his passages cleared. Each sharp jolt got him closer and closer to his goal that he clung to:

'suscipe me in domum suam' Take me home.

Finally, with a harsh thud, he was face down in the dirt. The warlock groaned and slowly felt his senses come back to him and took in another groan to his left. Shaking off the dysteria he blinked up at the scenery and squinted as light flooded his eyes. Wasn't it just night time? Excitement flooded Max as the hope of being home bloomed. 

"Did we do it?" Rafael breathed, looking a little winded. Max took in the cemetery , noticing gravestones that weren't there before, a new monument and aged stones. They were definitely in a different time. 

"I think so." Max grinned and helped haul Rafael back onto his feet. Max gasped suddenly as feelings of joy and confusion pulsed from his hip. His hand clasped his parabatai rune and couldn't help beam at his brother. "I feel her. She's here - sh-she's alive." Max gave a shaky laugh.
"No doubt they'll track us here any min-"

A crackle was heard and a swoosh as multiple bodies stumbled through a golden portal. The brothers watched in awe as their family raced towards them.

"BOYS!"

"MAX! RAFAEL!"

"OH THANK GOD!"

Max let out a yelp as Alexandra and Madzie tackled him to the ground, talking rapidly about how worried they were and how they'd not been able to track them. Rafael chuckled as his brother went to the ground but turned round in time to get an armful of his fathers. Magnus and Alec held onto him tight. 

"Where the hell have you been?" Magnus almost sobbed into the young Shadowhunter's shoulder. Rafael grinned, feeling tears sting his own eyes. He wasn't sure he'd get to see his proper family again, but Max did it. His Papa did it too - even if he couldn't remember. 

"Its a .... long story." Rafael breathed a sigh of relief. Eventually he pulled away from his fathers to see Alexandra and Madzie still giving his brother an earful about running after trouble on his own. Max looked sheepishly between the two girls before turning to smile at Rafael. Soon the girls turned to Rafael and gave him a big hug, telling him how brave he was for going after his idiotic brother. Max barely let out a scandalised 'hey!' before he was enveloped in a hug between his fathers. Max left the protests to hug his parents back, actually letting tears escape as he felt like he was finally home.

~

"Holy shit, really?!" Alexandra gaped.

"What was it like?"

"How young did I look?"

"Are you boys okay?"

"You didn't see Valentine did you?" 

"Did you punch Jonathan in the face?"

"Oh my god can you all shut up." Max groaned, burying his face in his hands. Rafael gave his family an exasperated smile.

"We're perfectly fine, if a little disorientated." Rafael reassured. "It was definitely surreal. Seeing all of you during the dark war really gave us an insight into how horrible it all was, how Downworlders were still being discriminated against to a worrying degree, and how Valentine was so cruel in his ambition." 

Everyone went quiet.

"Well that's the depressing way of putting it." Max grinned, breaking the tension. Magnus rolled his eyes as Alec hid his smile behind his palm. "It was really cool though, despite fearing for my life and everything. We met everyone when they were younger and got to see how you evolved. Uncle Jace you've certainly come a long way." Max smirked.

"What did I do?!" He exclaimed as the others snickered. 

"I have to agree that you were a grade A asshole." Rafael laughed. Clary snorted and tried for an apologetic smile when Jace glared at her.

"Oh come on babe, you weren't exactly welcoming when we first met." 

"I was plenty welcoming to you! Alec was the unwelcoming one!" Jace tried to dodge.

"You were welcoming to Clary because you wanted in her pants." Alec commented dryly.

Jace narrowed his eyes. "Pretty sure you liked the idea of getting in my pants at the time Lightwood." He retorted.

Max and Alec wrinkled their noses in disgust. "Oh god, don't remind me." Alec looked genuinely ill thinking about it and Rafael let out another huff of laughter at his family's ridiculousness.

"What did Dad do?" Alexandra asked and Jace looked betrayed. 

"He accused us of working with Valentine." 

Clary and Alexandra turned and looked at Jace with a murderous gaze. "OW!" He yelped when they slapped him hard. "I wouldn't do that now! Why are you blaming me?!" 

"You're still an ass and you deserve it for saying such horrible things to my nephews." Clary quipped.

"They're my nephews too. I'd never knowingly insult family- don't look at me like that Alec, you know what I mean! I'd never intentionally hurt any of you. I'm sorry if I caused you any distress boys. I'm not as ... troubled as I used to be." Jace apologised sincerely. Clary looked on fondly as Max and Rafael gave him a big hug.

"We know that uncle Jace." Rafael smiled reassuringly.

"So when exactly did you travel to? Valentine's soul sword massacre? The forsaken attack? The Alicante attack? Lilith? Sebastian's death? The angel-" 

"God slow down Alexandra!" Max chuckled. 

"We were there during Sebastian's infiltration of the institute and Valentine's last attempt at destroying the Downworld." Rafael supplied and all the adults in the room tensed. 

"Of all the times." Alec whispered, horror in his tone. "Are you sure you boys are ok?" 

The brothers smiled brightly. "Of course, you were there after all." 

Alec smiled back before frowning. "I wasn't ... cruel or anything was I? I was a very different person back then." Magnus curled his fingers round Alec's, sending comfort through their bond. His Shadowhunter could never be cruel, not to him. 

"Actually you weren't too different. You were still the strong Shadowhunter we admire." Rafael explained to his father. "I hope to be half the man you are." 

Alec felt tears well up. "The only man you need to be is yourself Rafael. I hope you aren't trying to live up to my expectations because anything you do will make me the proudest father on earth." Rafael felt his own eyes sting as he embraced his father once again. Magnus didn't know he could fall even farther for his nephilim, but seeing him show such care and devotion in the way his parents never had through most of his teenage years made the warlock warm and fuzzy.

"Dad made Rafa head of security after Sebastian was exposed." Max jumped in, grinning at his brother. 

"Of course he did. Anyone would notice our son's shining potential." Magnus beamed with pride, chucking Rafael. 

"Guys please."

"Aw look he's blushing." Madzie cooed. 

"Shut up." Rafael grumbled, hiding his red cheeks. 

"I saw you as well Madzie." Max said sheepishly. "I had no idea you were so adorable." Madzie sat there speechless as her cheeks also started to redden. The Shadowhunter's tried to hide their knowing looks as Max also turned into a tomato. Magnus was full on beaming at his son's boldness and Alec tried to whisper for him to not look so smug. 'I can't help it Alexander, he's my son after all!'

"So if this all happened, how come we can't remember?" Jace asked, breaking the tension. 

"Don't be dumb Jace." Isabelle sighed and Jace gave her an offended glare. 

"They would have had to erase their memories to avoid the butterfly effect." Simon intervened. "I can't believe time travel exists!" 

"Yeah you were pretty bummed out when we said you had to forget." Max chuckled.

"Wait, you told us?! That you were from the future?" Alec exclaimed. 

"Well ... Max kind of gave us away."

"Hey!"

"How did we react?" Magnus asked curiously.

"Um ..." Rafael shared a reluctant glance with Max. "It was a little awkward considering you guys were kind of ... on a break." Alec's eyes widened. 

"Holy crap I completely forgot that all happened at the same time." His eyes found Magnus' who only looked at him with fondness.

"Don't worry darling, it's all in the past and we haven't gotten that close to being apart since ... well except for the time you dumped me so I could get my magic back." Magnus hummed casually.

"Magnus!" Alec groaned in embarrassment. 

"You boys were so dramatic." Isabelle giggled.

Jace joined in. "Oh I love Magnus and his golden eyes!"

Isabelle snickered. "He's the love of my life, my world, my soul!

"I must propose! He is too precious!"

"Oh wait, his father didn't give me his blessing!"

"Dooomed! Star-crossed lovers! I must sever all happiness for Magnus'"

"Oh wait here's Magnus who found out my sacrifice. He wants to marry me after All!"

"My love!"

"Guys!" Alec groaned as his kids howled with laughter. 

"You were so romantic darling." Magnus smirked. "And if you know me, you know I love drama." Alec couldn't help the fondness that crept over him. He really would do anything for his warlock.

"God stop, I'm gonna melt from all the gooey ness in your eyes!" Isabelle sighed lovingly and Simon chuckled, hugging her to his chest. 

"Leave Alexander alone. I want him to look at me like that all the time." Magnus beamed and pecked his Shadowhunter.

"He already does." Max laughed. "The pining was surreal."

"Max." Alec tried for stern but just looked exasperated.

"You guys made up and got back together once you learnt you had future kids." Max continued.

"Well of course we did. I've never once stopped loving your father so promise of a future together would only drive us back together." Magnus sighed and wrapped his arms round Alec's neck. 

"Ugh people wish they could be as cute as malec." Alexandra sighed. 

"What's a malec?"

"I think we got a little sidetracked." Jace sighed. 

Rafael chuckled, "Well dad and papa got back together and it was very emotional and sappy. However we were concerned about it affecting this time so they agreed to erase all memories of us. Unfortunately it meant they'd also forget getting back together." 

Alec's hand tightened around Magnus' subconsciously. He couldn't imagine having Magnus' warmth in his grasp only to be ripped away again. However, he was happy his boys were safe and their future with them still existed. 

"So how did you guys get back together?" Alexandra asked, fully enthralled in the story.
Alec turned to Magnus. "It was after Valentine was killed and everyone went out to celebrate ..."

~
Alec's eyes never strayed from the warlock as others tried to engage him in conversation or congratulate him on Valentines demise. He only had one thought on his mind after everything they'd been through. He never wanted to lose Magnus again, the fear he felt when Valentine raised the angel was bone deep. He wasn't going to waste this opportunity to tell him how important he was. 

Finally, he excused himself and made his way through the crowd, patting an intoxicated Luke on the shoulder as he went by. Magnus looked so good leaning against one of the supports with his signature drink in hand. He always looked good - so elegant and poised. Alec tried to contain the swoon that crawled up his spine. 

He let out a breathless "Hey." 

Magnus replied in kind and Alec stumbled into a, "you look like you've got your energy back." to break the ice. 

"My go to remedy after a major magic depletion; boiling hot bath, 8oz steak - medium rare - and ..." he paused for dramatic effect, admiring his glass whilst Alec helplessly admired Magnus and smiled at his quirks, "a lot of these." He finished with a huffed laugh and took a sip. Alec didn't know what to say, just revelled in the fact Magnus was talking to him again. "Mm." Magnus remembered, "any sign of demons." 

Alec quickly hid his fond smile as he returned to work chat. "None. The sensor maps are completely clear of wrath demons. It's the strangest thing, it's like ... they disappeared into thin air." Alec frowned.

Magnus looked thoughtful before giving a smile. "Well, then we can take this moment. To celebrate." He raised his glass and smiled at Alec's surprised grin and clinked glasses. Alec went to take a drink but found the bottle stilling at his lips, wondering when the peace would break and they'd acknowledge the elephant in the room. He paused and decided he wanted to rip the bandaid off now - he didn't want polite civility. He wanted to ravish his boyfriend and kiss him for every minute they'd spent apart. He watched Magnus take a sip and mustered up his courage.

"Can we talk?" It came out a little unsure but straight to the point. Magnus hesitated for a second before nodding a quiet 'yeah.' Alec took the lead and walked past him to the back doors of the hunters moon, knowing there were too many advanced hearing ears ready to weigh in and gossip. As soon as he entered the fresh air he took a deep breath to steady his nerves. He had to make things right. There was a gap of silence as they both prepared to address the tension between them. Alec decided to get right to the crux of the problem and apologise for causing the rift.

"Magnus I'm sorry-"

"Don't apologise."

"No, I should of told you about the soul sword."

"It's in the past." 

They paused after it had all been blurted out into the open. Alec tried to figure out how to fix this as he saw Magnus curl in on himself a little, holding his elbows. Alec could almost taste the anxiety coming from his warlock and he wanted to smooth it away. 

"Magnus, ever since our ... fights, I ..." Alec started, trying to find the right words, and Magnus swallowed, looking down, "I can't- I can't think straight." 

Magnus' eyes darted around as he tried to think of a reply, "Well I can't do any thing without ... thinking of you." He admitted, vulnerable in confession.

"Magnus I ..." he stepped forward, "I don't think I can live without you." 

Magnus eyes darted up to meet Alec's, disbelief settling inside him along with hope as Alec shook his head hopelessly. Magnus knew he had caused them both pain and had to admit his mistakes so that they were on equal ground. "I ... I thought I had to choose between you and the downworld ..." he took a step closer to his nephilim, "but I don't." He assured and felt his lips quirk up. "A wise man once told me, 'relationships take effort'" 

Alec huffed a laugh at Magnus' terrible impression of him. "Yeah. Well that was an understatement." He teased and Magnus chuckled back, the tension shattering and leaving them in this calm, yet uncertain relief. Alec gave Magnus a hopeful look. 

"You know what's not an understatement?" Magnus tried to be coy. He edged closer to the Shadowhunter and Alec grinned as he reached out towards the warlock, meeting him halfway. He felt his world slot back into place with the familiar warmth of Magnus on his lips. He breathed him in, savouring the presence he sorely missed. He was determined not to lose it again.

They pulled away with a smack and smiled dopily at each other. Magnus took in a breath before looking around, "I'm all into parties ... but what do you say we get out of here?" He smiled, eager to be alone with his nephilim once more. 

Alec grinned, the happiest he'd been in days, "yes."

 

THE END